Editorial: Modern age is tough on would-be politicians

Long gone are the days when an off-hand comment might be news for a few days then largely forgotten

Politics is a tough gig these days.

Long gone are the days when an off-hand comment might be news for a few days then largely forgotten. And when some silly comment made in your youth more often than not stayed buried with your junior high track trophy and the T-shirt from your first concert.

Today, thanks to this brave new world of social media and world-wide connectivity, yesterday’s remarks could severely limit your opportunities tomorrow.

The steady stream of candidates dropping from the federal election race grew by two more recently, with the seemingly endless torrent reaching the Island. Victoria Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas dropped out of the race last week after comments she previously made on Facebook came to light. Thomas joined fellow former Liberal candidate Maria Manna, who resigned from the race in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford several days previously over comments she had earlier made questioning the origin of the 9/11 attacks.

However it’s not only the Liberals who have been caught in the embarrassing revelations. All three major parties have been forced to dump candidates for reasons that run the gamut from crude remarks about the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz to urinating in a client’s coffee mug.

With the comments being so easily exposed by political bloggers, one has to wonder why the political parties aren’t doing a more thorough vetting of their candidates. Social media is hardly a new phenomenon, and if others are finding this stuff so easily…

Still, we have to wonder whether this ability to troll so far back in people’s history is a good thing. While we in no way condone remarks reflecting bigoted attitudes, we have to wonder whether the ability to derail a person based on some long-past stupidity is a good thing.

At the very least, it underlines for today’s teens the importance of what parents have been saying for years: don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t want your mother to see … or millions of Canadian voters.


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