It is too much to hope that young people will not say and do dumb things. We all did. But is it too much to expect that they will not lie about them when they are seeking public office?
It shouldn’t be. But once again, a spate of bozo candidate moments has bedevilled the launch of each party’s campaigns.
Everything from domestic abuse to antisemitism, to white supremacy, to Islamophobic attacks have taken down candidates from every party.
We all do stupid things in our youth. But, these days, if you try and lie about the stupid things you've done, the lies will catch up with you:
Do these idiots think that in these days of eternal digital life for every dumb thing you have said or done that they won’t be exposed? How many cases of lives and reputations ruined do they need to hear about to understand that that has not been true for more than a decade now.
Seeking the privilege of holding public office is not filling in a job application. The standards of character and integrity are much higher. For it is entirely appropriate when a hidden embarrassment is revealed, for voters to ask: “Well, if she will lie about that, what else will she lie to me about?”
Yes, the parties will need to continue to tighten their vetting processes, but few screening processes can pick out every determined liar, not even polygraphs.
So the obligation is on the aspiring candidate.
They are the ones who must ask themselves before seeking the trust of thousands of voters, is there something I have done that I am ashamed of? Are there things I have said I wish, years later, I could take back?
Most of us have examples of each in our lives. The next question is quite simple: If I disclose it and offer a genuine apology for it, could I still be accepted as a candidate?
If you honestly cannot see that happening, stand down.
Good advice for political candidates -- indeed, for all of us.