Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth …

Is your past really all that important? That seems like a slam-dunk question from first glance. Why of course it is. You would hopefully think twice (or more) about hiring a convicted pedophile to provide
your kids with daycare. Do you think you might want to hire a convicted embezzler as your accountant? These are all legitimate considerations for ensuring Mr. (or Mrs. or Ms.) Right isn’t all wrong. But just how much of one’s personal history is germane to the job someone might do as an elected official?

Would one’s past as a hemp-loving nudist necessarily preclude them from doing a good job as a state legislator? Does it matter if a candidate for U.S. Senate who may someday be a presidential candidate had “millions” of dollars in cosmetic surgery, or even if that candidate’s opponent supposedly referred to that candidate as “ugly?” The answer is an overwhelming yes, or no, or maybe or perhaps.

In a fair and just world, the actions or words of someone would be taken in context. But context doesn’t always keep your kid safe from Chester the Molester. And, the situation in which one’s words or deeds took place will certainly not prevent political operatives from exploiting an opponent’s negative.

So what to do? Should parents raise their kids in a world void of making all mistakes? Then, when the child grows to adulthood, should that person avoid any type of misunderstanding or questionable judgment or God forbid, fun? Of course not. That leaves only one choice — to “fess up.”

Yes, confession is good for the soul. It’s more than just a Roman Catholic thing. When you apply for that job, when you decide to run for office, sit down and list every bad thing, every questionable event, every errant thought that has ever crossed your mind.

“When I was 5, I took Johnny’s candy when he wasn’t looking.”
“I called Jane “Chicken Legs” in the 5th Grade.”
“I told my mother I was going to the library but really went to the arcade when I was 14.”
“I got so drunk at Chip’s house that I peed on his dog’s leg.”
“I reported to the IRS that I spent $40 on a new chair when I actually only paid $33 for it.”
“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”

Of course, if you are running for political office then don’t be too surprised if your opponent tries to disprove that you really peed on the leg of Chip’s dog or if the opponent tries in other ways to brand you as a liar by accusing you of really going to to the library even though you confessed to sneaking over to the arcade. In other words, you just can’t win. So f*ck it.

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