Really? We’re now holding presidential candidates accountable for what they do in high school?

This was the question was posed to me when I re-posted the news about Romney’s malicious bullying in high school:big-bully-and-little-bully

Really? We’re now holding candidates accountable for what they do in high school? Most people outgrow the stupid things they say and do in high school and become productive members of society.

Oh, America and its binary way of thinking.  Why do we insist on categorizing things down to two compartments rather than considering things as a spectrum?

The above example begs the answer “Of course not!  If we only considered candidates that never did anything wrong as a kid we would have no viable candidates.”

The real answer is more nuanced than an on/off switch.  Binary thinking is limited thinking, more complex thinking takes stepping outside of the trap of the binary.

The question shouldn’t be “whether or not we should hold candidates accountable for what they did in high school” but rather should be “What did have the candidates done at each stage of their lives and should they be held accountable for it?”  Where on the spectrum does it fall and how accountable should the individual be held based on the age that the act was committed?

For example I once set off a stink bomb in my history classroom.  One of my classmates stole a car and went on a joyride.  Another date-raped a girl and went around bragging about it.

Already we have a pretty wide spectrum of actions, but the spectrum extends wider than that.  There are things less serious than setting off a stink bomb and things more serious than date-rape.  The spectrum of “dumb shit” that we do in high school is incredibly wide, and where on the spectrum the “dumb shit” lands will lead an intelligent thinker to decide whether to hold a presidential candidate accountable for what they did in high school.

So the short answer is “Yes.  We should hold presidential candidates accountable for what they did in high school.”

The long answer is “Depending on the severity of act committed by a presidential candidate in his past, we will decide whether or not it is a part of his character or an aberrant act that is similar to acts we have all committed in our pasts.”

The snarky answer is “Depends.  Let us know what this incident is and we’ll score it on a scale where

1 = cutting school on senior cut day

5 = humiliating a classmate in a series of incidents that climaxes in having four friends hold him down and attacking him with scissors

10 = bringing several firearms to school and shooting down many of their classmates on cold blood.

and we’ll get back to you.”

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