In light of the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections (which won't arrive soon enough, once the mudslinging starts for real), I thought I'd bring up the subject: should one be judged by one's past actions? This applies equally to candidates on both sides of the political fence, and those straddling it, as well.
As we all know, the media loves to delve into the past of potential candidates (prompted, oftentimes, by a political opponent), and expose those deep, dark secrets that they feel will either make or break them, but is it fair to judge someone by their deeds from long ago? I sincerely doubt there are many in this world who can say, with all honesty, that they have not done something in their past that they're not proud of. I think we have all been guilty of some kind of folly or youthful indiscretion (in varying degrees of seriousness), that could be viewed and judged in a negative light.
I know they say that 'a leopard can't change its spots', and perhaps with certain individuals this remains a truism, but I would like to think that man can change and evolve, if he/she chooses to, so that what they were associated with in the past might not apply to them in the present. Should someone who had a problem with drugs or alcohol 20 years ago, but has since been sober, be eliminated from the running because of that issue? People can and do change. I'm a case in point. I let go of destructive habits decades ago, including certain political ideologies. I started off as a Democrat and one day found myself a Republican. I'm not even really sure when that transition occurred, but I remember I was out there vigorously demonstrating against nuclear proliferation (and any other cause du jour), and then I wasn't. So, if I were to run for office today, people might look back at my 'anti-this & that' days and unfairly criticize me for what they perceive as my 'liberal' ways, however erroneous a conclusion that might be, considering it isn't currently applicable. And please do not take this, in any way, shape or form, as an endorsement of her, but Hillary Clinton's college thesis is being called into question because of its leftist bent; and although I believe that she does happen to be a leopard whose spots have not changed, there is the very remote possibility she no longer espouses those socialist views. Doubtful, but possible. And people do legitimately change their minds regarding social issues; I know I have.
I think it is very important to look at the character of a potential candidate, and then what he currently stands for, not what he embraced 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It's not an easy task, given our politicians' knack for dissembling. The problem is: how does one determine whether individuals have truly changed or whether they are just telling us what we want to hear?
I would encourage everyone to do their research, when the time comes.