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A certain standard

Chuck Kuepfer, Spin Cycle

The feet of our leaders are made with clay.

That seems to be the only possible conclusion as time after time we become privy to the shortcomings of others; to the indiscretions of those in power who engage in activity that is unbecoming for those in such lofty positions.

The truth is, we all are prone to personal disaster. Our lives are always at risk of becoming unravelled by the choices we make, choices that can lead us down a path for which there will be a hefty price to pay.

As news of CIA director David Petraeus’s “inappropriate communications” with another women continues to dominate headlines, we are left to wonder whether the media is salivating at the opportunity to expose the gritty details of a sex scandal, or whether “our need to know” is in interest of the common good.

Perhaps a little from column A because it makes for shocking headlines; likewise from column B to hold our leaders accountable.

What has becoming painfully clear in the Petraeus case — or the BBC’s decision to shelve a documentary that investigated child sexual abuse allegations against BBC children’s television host Jimmy Savile — is that you can’t suppress the truth forever.

In today’s digital age it’s only a matter of time until such indiscretions come to light.

We can’t escape the fact that we are all human. However, there’s no denying that those in positions of power and privilege must adhere to a standard; that honesty, integrity and strength of character go part and parcel with the job.

We must always demand that our leaders be accountable for their actions both in the course of duty and in personal matters.

And though may seem unfair but it’s the time honoured standard that we uphold as a society for government leaders, preachers, policemen, teachers, boy scout leaders, municipal councillors, mayors, presidents, prime ministers, and so on.

That is just the way it is — and if you don’t want to live in the limelight of intense scrutiny then it’s best you look elsewhere for employment.

In light of recent scandal we are reminded of the high price paid by those in positions of power who breach the code of ethics that is inherent in leadership.

But let’s not kid ourselves: we are not off the hook in this regard.

We too as ordinary citizens are presented with the power of choice and its impacts, for better or worse.

And like it or not, we have the moral obligation to live “above board” and do our utmost to be people of integrity — because the health and vitality of our families, communities and the global village depend on it.

Doing the right thing is often not the easiest thing and certainly not the path of least resistance, but it is the very thing that separates us from the frightening wasteland of social anarchy.

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