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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,


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Should a public official caught in an extra-marital affair resign or be forced to resign?

It seems American politics is constantly filled with news stories of high ranking public officials who get caught in an extra-marital affair, and then either resign or are forced by political pressures to resign. Had I more time to research this debate, I would see if I could find any statistics on the relevance of this issue in different countries. But I was thinking that would be a fascinating call out to TED members in other countries for your point of view on this issue, both in your own country and in the United States.

Some studies show about 50% of Americans have an extramarital affair. So I would expect that a significant percentage of our elected officials are having affairs. Should they all resign?

Is there a contradiction here? Should we hold our elected officials to a higher standard than we (as citizens) appear to hold for ourselves?


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    Nov 13 2012: I guess it depends on whether you consider adultery to be wrong. Here in the UK it is advertised on prime time television, so it seems cosher .
    A few years ago our chancellor of the exchequer was obliged to cut up his credit card. Not the best choice for guardian of the nation's purse.
    Personally if a politician's wife/husband can't trust him/her then I would also be wary of trusting them with public office; but I guess I may be going out of fashion.

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      Nov 13 2012: Although I stand on the side of "if it doesn't directly bear on the office of the official, then let it remain private," you might be surprised that I also agree with YOU. Personal immorality does have bearing on all dimensions of a person's actions. But here's the hitch-- nobody can do anything about it. Why? Because we are ALL SINNERS. If we put a sainthood standard on public office, either we'll get a bunch of skillful liars and deceivers, or a bunch of false and unstable hypocrites.

      The best we can do is be humble sinners choosing imperfect but conscientious public officials.

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