by Sharon Jones

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You’d have thought that the overriding motivation to striving for a career in politics is the desire to help people, to make your nation a better place to live and to make your country richer, stronger and more morally culpable. However, in recent years, it has become less clear as to why politicians choose their career paths. Scandal and controversy seem to gravitate towards two spheres - the Church and the government. So why is it that so many politicians choose hypocrisy over integrity?

The Good Old Days

It’s very easy to look back at the history of American politics through rose tinted spectacles. John F Kennedy was the finest orator with the most revolutionary views regarding the civil rights movement, education, foreign policy, and economics. Delve deeper, and we find that his charismatic good looks didn’t only secure his run for the presidency. This was a man who was fundamentally flawed because of his penchant for philandering. Fast forward to the democratic president over thirty years later, and Bill Clinton was doing the same thing in office. Men with power often choose to forego their moral compass to satisfy their selfish desires, with no thought of those closest to them.

Crimes

While many politicians have been morally corrupt, it doesn’t take long before we find those who are criminally culpable. It’s rather ironic that Mike Crapo, the Senator for Idaho, was pulled over for drinking and driving in 2013, given that he’s a member of the teetotal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The hypocrisy is almost laughable. However, with a tearful apology and a photo opportunity of him with his family around him, all is forgiven and forgotten. Maybe, we forgive too easily and let these politicians off the hook. After all, five years later and Crapo is still Idaho’s Senator.

There’s No Let Up

With the emergence of the Me Too movement striving for more equality between the sexes, horrific tales of sexual assault, prejudice and bullying have emerged. Brett Kavanaugh only recently testified under oath regarding his alleged criminal behavior against a fellow student over thirty years ago. The mere whiff of controversy in any other Western democracy and this man would never come anywhere near to holding one of the highest states of office in a nation. However, in the US, things are a little different. After all, look at the President. Donald J Trump can make the most derogatory remarks about women on tape and mock a disabled reporter on camera and yet he’s still managed to become arguably the most powerful man on the planet.

Let’s not forget those politicians who have epitomized integrity. Lyndon B Johnson did more for the civil rights movement than any other president in history. The late John McCain was a progressive Republican who was the ultimate patriot, refusing to leave his prisoner of war camp until his fellow Americans were also released. We are led by decent people. However, it is such a shame when those individuals that choose hypocrisy over integrity grab all of the headlines and bring our nation into disrepute on the world stage.