Should the Private Affairs of a Politician be Public?

By Jesper Daniel Nils Falk, Sweden

Humans have somehow always been fascinated with other people’s private lives. Mankind’s curious nature has a monumental part to play in this, but, when it comes to public figures, such as celebrities and politicians, the thirst for information is a notch higher.

There is a range of different pros and cons when it comes to the question, should politicians specifically have their personal lives exposed? The fact that they are being paid by your tax money means that their lives are more scrutinized. You do want to know what you “invest” your money in, yours, your kids and the country’s future is in the politicians’ hands.

There is also the issue of how the politician might behave during private occasions, how they handle certain tough issues that could surface, what they spend their salary on can be used to foresee how he or she might handle future crisis and sensitive decisions. Do they break down mentally on the smallest of obstacles? Do they spend their money on wasteful and unnecessary luxuries? Do they tap into governmental funds for their own desires? These are questions that might instigate theories of conspiracy or other harmful rumors if not answered and swept under the carpet.

As with everything, there are two sides to this debate as well. If the politicians life should be as exposed as those of celebrities such as movie stars then there is the chance that the politicians might lose focus on what’s necessary. Imagine having a camera documenting every move you make when you just need some time to think before making difficult decisions. Imagine having someone investigate what you spend your earned money on, or, for example, how you cope with the loss of a family member or something just as simple as criticizing your diet.

However, in countries with freedom of speech and press, reporters and investigators need to apply some pressure on politicians to let them know that they are in fact watched being with every step they take. Since corruption levels and other devious tactics are still high around the world, it’s good to know that there are still some people that dedicate their lives to root out dishonesty and crime in the political sector.

There is always the possibility for abuse of the freedom of press. Documenting every single move politicians make might affect them negatively even though the politicians are doing their job effectively, or, on the other hand, they are living a superb personal lives but are not so competent leaders.

There are a lot of hefty arguments asserting why the public should have access to a politician’s private life, if he divorces his wife or cheats, will he destroy the trust given to him by the country and do the same to the country? A considerable amount of incidents that occurs in a politician’s private life can be reflected directly in his actions as a governmental figure.

We also have the fact that the more voters know about their candidate, the more likely will they trust him. Imagine standing in the polling booths and deciding between two candidates that you only know through the media, who spent the most money on public relations and commercials, then you might regret not pursuing facts and finding more information about each one.

Additionally, should every little mishap in the past be brought up to determine who’s appropriate or not? “He skipped class in 8th grade. That’s not the president we want!” This could be a thing you might hear from people who are trying the very hardest to find dirt on the candidate they don’t like, overlooking the fact that the candidate in question might have done years of humanitarian work and solved a world crisis.

There are in fact very few politicians with immaculate personal lives, so why do we feel the need to find and display every single misdemeanor?

After all, politician’s are mere humans, not more, nor less.

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