A higher standard of candidate

Published 10:11 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

When it comes to public figures, elected or otherwise, what standard should they be held to? Should they be treated like everyone else or do they deserve some sort of special treatment? Do we treat them like normal people or should we expect more?

It was recently reported that a candidate for Public Service Commission, Place 1, will not have his votes certified by the Alabama Republican Party following backlash over comments made on social media and radio. The comments have been labeled as anti-Semitic, racist and offensive.

The candidate, Madison county resident Jim Bonner, has gone on the record saying he is a good person and has appealed the GOP’s decision. And while the appeal won’t likely be heard until after the election, its success depends on how many votes he receives.

Email newsletter signup

But this isn’t a response to Bonner. It isn’t intended to condemn or praise him. Instead it is to ask a simple question: For good or ill, does this even matter?

To put it simply, no matter the office, a political figure should be held to a certain standard. Whether the person is running for the position of dog catcher or governor, they should present themselves as someone to look up to. Someone that could be considered inspirational in the right light.

Public officials have two basic jobs: to take care of everything their position requires and to be the spokesperson for the people that put them in office. Once someone takes on a public office, it’s no longer about them. They are the face of the people that elected them.

That’s why people have such a problem whenever a candidate shows up in the news for any reason other than their job. If they’ve done something positive, we applaud them and the people that put them there. If they do something negative, we curse them and question who allowed them to take office in the first place.

It might be idealistic to expect every candidate to be a paragon of virtue but if someone can’t even be bothered to try, what makes them deserving of our votes?