American History / President Clinton
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Autor: anton 07 March 2011
Words: 1159 | Pages: 5
Assuming that it is true that a United States President may conduct his personal affairs in a way which does not jeopardize his capacity or duties as a political leader, should a United States President be accountable for his personal affairs by the American people whom he represents? This is the question to be discussed. Keep in mind, however, that this question does not deal with whether or not it is acceptable for a president to lie about his personal affairs or whether he should be legally accountable for his personal affairs. Rather, this question deals with whether or not we should require our president to be a moral leader as well as a political one and what standards are appropriate to demand of the man we empower within our nationâ€™s highest executive office. This is an important issue because as more and more personal scandals unfold regarding presidents, it is important for the people themselves to decide if it affects their leader and his leadership. It is also important for people to know what they want in a leader so when they read their ballot they know who to vote for.
The position I will take is that the United States President should be held accountable for his personal affairs by the American people whom he represents. I take the position that we should require our president to be a moral leader as well as a political one and that private behavior is relevant to public performance.
My first argument is that people elect the president based on his beliefs, his morals, and his politics. People support the president because he abides by his beliefs, morals, and politics whether they involve his political or personal affairs. The president is accountable for his affairs, political or personal, that reflects his beliefs, morals, and politics. This then makes the political personal. Therefore, the president should be held accountable for his personal affairs by the American people whom he represents.
One objection that can be raised to the foregoing argument is that not everyone elects the president based on his beliefs, his morals, and his politics. Many people have different standards of quality that they expect in their leader. Some care only about politics, while others care only about morals. Also, dedicated party supporters might vote Democrat or Republican simply because they are Democrats or Republicans. Many people also believe that the presidentâ€™s personal affairs are his private business, particularly if it does not effect his duties. Thus the president is not always elected based on his morals because to some people it does not matter just as long as politically he improves our government. The point here is that many people have different criteria that they set up when electing a leader.
It is true that many people have different standards that they demand of a leader. But that does not allow the president to no longer be held accountable for his personal affairs just because heâ€™s the president. His position does not separate him in any way from the rest of society when it comes to acting morally within our personal life. Ideally, people should vote for a president based on his beliefs, morals, and politics. However, this ideal is betrayed when the president acts improperly, morally or personally. The objection here makes a good point but does not refute the argument. Most people do not blindly vote for a leader, they learn about what he stands for and how he can help them as well as how he can help better society.
My second argument is that because the president has such great power and because he is a role model, he should be held accountable for his personal affairs because his actions could set a poor example and could reflect on the United States badly. The president is a role model who sets an example for the present and future generations. If he does scandalous things in his personal affairs, then what kind of example does he set?
An objection that can be raised against this argument is that whatever the president does aside from his â€œworkâ€ is not the societyâ€™s business particularly if it does not affect how he runs our country. This objection proves that an explicit premise is false. Adults whom act as role models for these children also raise the children of our society. It is not as if these children will go running around barbarously because they saw the president commit an impertinent act. He is human and deserves to have a personal life in which he can make decisions that everyone else in the world does not become involved in. The presidentâ€™s personal affairs do not affect his political affairs and therefore his personal affairs should not be accounted for.
There is, however, an objection that can be made by questioning the validity of a particular premise. While it is true that personal affairs should not matter, they do. In President Clintonâ€™s case, having an extramarital affair and lying about it does not set a good example for younger generations. Earlier in the paper I said that I would not mention the issue of whether or not it is alright for the president to lie about his personal affairs, but here I think it needs to be addressed. Does this say that it is acceptable to cheat on your husband or wife because the president does it? Does this say that it is okay to lie because the president does it? It is not acceptable to cheat on your spouse or lie to cover things up. Also, if the allegations against President Clinton are true, then this reflects poorly on Americans in countries where these types of actions are highly unacceptable. And who is to say that if the president lies about his personal affairs he wonâ€™t be prone to lie about his political affairs? This is where the politic becomes very personal. If our leader lies about his personal business then how can we trust him not to lie about his political business. The answer is we cannot trust him.
In conclusion, I believe that the best reasons can be provided for belief in the position that I have taken. Although not everyone will agree and many believe that politics is politics and personal affairs are nobody elseâ€™s business, I have explored the reasons in this paper about why the political is personal. By no means do I feel that in some cases the personal is irrelevant. But, on the whole, the way someone deals with his personal affairs reflects the person himself and sets a precedent for his future actions, whether they be political or personal.
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