Although we have a ways to go before November, I wanted to take a brief moment to address the recent allegations that GOP Presidential candidate, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and Haagan-Daz Chocolate Walnut Flavor Herman Cain has found himself answering for as of late.

The fact that multiple women have come forward accusing Cain of sexual harassment is not surprising. Nor is his blubbering, tangled [and sadly predictable] denials. What intrigues me more than anything is our obsession with politicians’ sex lives, scandals and extracurricular activities rather than with their ability to function as leaders. While in the US, the word “character” keeps getting thrown around as a term used to deem one’s appropriateness to hold/not hold office, in many (and most) other places in the world, it really doesn’t take precedence over one’s ability to function as a leader. And in most other Western as well as Eastern nations, men are generally assumed – whether correctly so or not – to have these “happenings” going on anyway. The discussion, therefore, about the subject is usually shelved right from the get-go; allowing us all to just get down to business.

Before I come off as heartlessly dismissive of the merit of these weighty allegations, let me be clear: I do not agree with any of this kind of misconduct by anyone, politician or garbage collector, teacher or pastor, dentist or WalMart greeter. It’s never ok to treat anyone with any less respect than you’d want for yourself or for your loved ones. What I’m focusing on here is the harnessing of these “character flaws” as blatant distractions from the real issues – and from the actually relevant discussion of how this person can serve the greater good of the people who would elect him/her as their legislator. Period.

After witnessing the latest round of Republican debates – or as I like to call them, after-school specials – I noticed the incessant “boos” at any line of questioning that addressed Cain’s alleged indiscretions. These audience outbursts were followed by a solid round of applause after Chocolate Walnut’s obvious dodging attempts. It became abundantly clear how far off our pulse is on the importance of what actually constitutes a candidate’s merit for holding public office. The mentality isn’t, is this person able to address our concerns, propose valid, thoughtful plans to reach workable [and realistic] resolutions and otherwise serve to defend the greater well-being of the people. Rather, it’s all about what the latest post is on their Facebook page. I mean, come on; our society deserves better than to be constantly and systematically distracted from the real matters at hand – and both Dems and Reps are wholly guilty of it. Even in the Middle East and Asia, where very strong arguments can be made for the existence of historically corrupt governments [oftentimes not running in any sort of ideally ethical way] the personal lives of the candidates for positions within those governments are almost never brought into question. And for good reason: They.Just.Don’t.Matter.

Cain is incompetent. He does not have the cognitive capacity to run the faucet, let alone America. He has no business whatsoever being on stage debating [and I use that word loosely] about a government he doesn’t have a chance in all hell to ever run. But the judgment of his worth as a legislator should be solely based on his professional resumé, his ability to troubleshoot complex problems efficiently and thoughtfully, his comprehension of our governmental systems and their intricacies, and his past related experience. No personal issues – religion, marital status, iPod playlist, boxers or briefs, sexual history, sexual preference, or even professed misconduct should be part of the dialogue for what one can do as a leader.

Allow me to be even more transparent [and I’m talking Windex-kind-of-clean here]: If questionable activities like money laundering, misuse of campaign funds or extortion are part of allegations against a candidate, then by all means these issues are crucial components that should be instantly investigated and scrutinized. These kinds of points are what truly make up the “character” of a potential job-applicant for one of our most treasured places in society: that of a leader.

Advertisements