Caution: follow role models for the right reasons

A batch of governors, senators, representatives and a president or two over the past half century have stepped over one or more sexual conduct lines during their terms of office, been caught and roundly criticized for their conduct. This brings up the question, should politicians be role models?
The answer is that they are role models whether or not they want the assignment. So are movie stars, headliner athletes, best-selling authors, CEOs that make $100 million a year and on down the roster of those who wield power over us in one way or another.
When they misbehave — or, to take the value judgment out of the statement — when they ignore society’s values in their personal lives, they give the rest of us an (invalid) excuse for doing likewise.
All men and women prominent in their field have a special responsibility to those who would emulate them. They must not only demonstrate how to succeed as a widget maker or whatever, but also show their fans how to live well, since the patterns they set may be copied.
Many of them — perhaps most of them — will fail at that second assignment. For the truth is that the type A personality traits that drive an individual to outstanding achievements very often generate king-sized egos. Such men and women con themselves into believing that the rules don’t apply to them. They are, in their own eyes, special people with special privileges.
Moral: study the widget maker to learn how to make widgets. Ignore how he spends his furloughs in Argentina. For how to live, remember what your mother taught you — and add a little seasoning, like she did when you weren’t watching.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.