It's been quite a week on the federal election campaign. I've lost track of candidates, from many different political parties, who have been embroiled in scandal after scandal. People running for the senate who said lewd and derogatory things at a strip club. Candidates who posted racist, homophobic, and misogynist things on their social media accounts, and leaders of parties blaming these candidates for derailing their political futures. Is it any wonder why people are losing faith in their politicians?
I have a few thoughts on this. One people must understand that what they say on social media is public. I share this blog with members of my congregation, colleagues in the church, friends from the Canada, US, and Britain. However I know that these comments can be shared by others and read by others. I must not post things which would embarrass me, my family, my congregation, my church, or any other cause that I support. Therefore, I am very thoughtful about what I post.
Second, people must understand that in this modern day and age their statements, their actions, their misdeeds live on for ever. We do live in the age of Big Brother. Phone cameras are everywhere taking photos of things. We do foolish things and it is remembered for a life time. The days of things being being excused as "youthful indiscretions" are gone because things now get posted permanently. Jokes that we might funny when we are sixteen, might not reflect our world views when we are 30. But when we post those jokes online, they are tied to us forever.
All of us make mistakes. All of us have said or done things that we wish you hadn't said or wish you hadn't done. All of us have one or two incidents in our past that we would change if we could roll back the clock. However, we live in a new world now where our private lives are no longer private. Candidates must ask themselves- will my past or present actions or social media posts be an embarrassment to my party if they become public. And all parties must do a better job vetting their candidates by doing research on their proposed candidates and then answering the question- do we want this person who has publicly stated this or has done stupid things- do we want them to carry our name brand. Pauline Hanson states that she is the leader of One Nation. She said that she has been let down by the men around her. But as party leader, she bears responsibility for not properly vetting these men to represent her. In the same way Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten should have vetted their troubled or disavowed candidates more fully. The candidates' posts, their public statements, their tweets should all be known by the parties before candidates win preselection. And all of us, need to remember the old maxim thing before you act, think before you say something, and remember the cameras are always watching.