Is Perfection a Criteria for Public Service?

Posted on by jtcopeiv

How long back should we dig into a person’s past in order to assess their current morality and character and ability to faithfully execute a job?  Five years?  Ten years?  Twenty?  The entirety of their life?  Should different actions be graded and investigated under different standards?  And perhaps, finally, most importantly, would we ourselves wish to be weighed and measured using the same scale?


We have a situation in our nation currently, in which an individual is being held accountable, or attempting to be held accountable for actions over three decades in the past.  This is not a post about whether the individual is guilty or not, that is a separate issue, but of whether the person’s actions from near forty years ago should be used as criteria for service currently.  Would we ourselves, in our current station in life be willing to be judged and hired or fired based upon actions from our teenage years?  Should we?  Again does it depend on the actions?  Does it depend on how long ago the actions took place?


If a person robbed a bank at gunpoint forty years ago, should that bear on their current adequacy for a job as a cashier?  As a college student?  As a high school teacher?  An electrician?  A state governor?  What if a person stole a candy bar in junior high; when they turn fifty should they be barred from promotion in a company?


If we are going to look at the bad, shouldn’t that mean that by default we must look at the good too?  If a person broke into a house as a teenager, but they served three hundred hours of community service and possible some time in jail, and have since had a spotless record, should that house break-in still have a bearing on their job promotions or opportunities when they turn forty?


Look, I am neither defending nor condemning the current situation, simply asking if we want a system of government that looks forty years into the past?  There is a huge, HUGE difference in a situation being executed within the last five to ten years, and a situation from forty years ago … with the massive, gargantuan qualifying statement that is that the record has remained clean and that there is not a continued pattern of criminal activity or abuse.  You cannot defend a person as adequate or qualified for good judgement in many if any professional (or personal for that matter, maybe even more) settings if they continually disregard common sense, decency, the law, and most of all morality.


Just some thoughts folks on the current state of our politics.  Whatever your opinion is, support it.  Be willing to have yourself measured and judged under the same set of rules and criteria.  And be insistent upon the same scale being applied across the political spectrum regardless of race, ethnicity, class, belief, or affiliation.  We are either a citizen of this country, or we are not, and that is the only issue that should determine how every single one of us is judged in this country.  – JT Cope IV



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