Anthony Weiner, remember him — the former New York congressman (and current candidate for New York mayor) who was exposed for having texted sexually explicit images to a woman other than his wife?
Or what about Marion Berry, the D.C. mayor busted for smoking crack, his name ring a bell?
How about that Bob Etheridge guy, the North Carolina representative who grabbed a college kid who was videotaping him and repeatedly asked “Who are you?”
What were these guys thinking? No, really. What were they thinking?
Given that politicians, like cops, have a direct effect on the lives of the people they serve, do we deserve to have a peek inside their collective head? Should political figures be subject to periodic psychological evaluations? Or, at the very least, a Myers-Briggs personality test so that we know if the person we’ve voted for is an ESTJ or an INFP? Or would that be TMI?
A reasonable argument could be made for at least considering the idea. After all, an elected official — be it a school board member, a councilwoman or member of Congress — must come under an extreme amount of pressure during their time in office. With having to please not only the people at home but the thousands they represent, the constant demand to meet someone else’s expectations can’t be easy. After a time it’s got to be mentally exhausting. It’s not improbable for that sort of fatigue to take a toll on a person.
Of course, there’s also the responsibility of wielding power and influence. Do voters have a right to know what kind of person will represent them under times of extreme stress or temptation? Are we more inclined to vote for someone who is willing to take chances and walk the line between both kinds of legal, or do we want someone in office who is quiet, introspective and more likely to carry on the status quo? When all we have is clever campaign slogans and a polished campaign image, how do we know who we are really voting for? How do we know “Who are you?”
Of course, privacy issues aside, maybe we don’t really want to know who it is we’re putting in office. Maybe on a subconscious level we’re satisfied with voting issues rather than personality because the alternative is too unpleasant to consider.
Maybe in this representative government we don’t want to see ourselves in our representatives. Or maybe we do, but just the good parts.
Perhaps we’re OK with not knowing a candidate’s mental health because in addition to their perceived nobility, intellect and compassion, they are a little hot-headed, irrational, selfish and nuts.