Recent events have citizens asking if persons in authority who break the law or society’s moral codes should be held to higher standards than the average Joe would be held to? From a legal perspective, this question could not be addressed any more clearly than it is. In the eyes of the law, each independent being must be treated equally, and are all subject to the same laws of justice known as Due Process. Therefore, the law must guarantee that no individual or group of individuals be privileged or discriminated against by the government. However, while the law is clear on this matter, the court of public opinion, whether it is a legal matter or a
moral one, has continued to fiercely debate this topic.
Uphold the standards
It is indeed very disheartening to see those that know better, still breaking the same laws or standards that many of them have sworn to uphold, or by virtue of their position, are expected, to uphold. It is a narrative we are hearing more and more, whether it is a bond of trust being broken, or plain and simple illegal activity.
Reports abound of improper and illegal behaviour of those we hold in high esteem. The media has exposed numerous stories over the years of this unacceptable and, or illegal behaviour between clerics and parishioners; teachers and students; the police and those they have sworn to serve and protect; lawyers and their clients; doctors and patients; politicians and taxpayers; or bosses and employees.
No matter the relationship, we expect those in authority to uphold the standards to which we hold them. The higher the individual climbs in his/her authority, the higher the benchmark they are held against. Unfortunately, too many times, those people fall short, way short of our expectations and we are left feeling betrayed and or incensed.
Over the past few months there has been a tremendous public outcry over these wrong doings the world over, whether it be inappropriate comments and or behaviour by world leaders, improprieties or illegal activity by public officers, or excessive use of force by police officers, to name a few, it is clear that we do expect more from those members of our society who are in authoritative positions.
In order to recognise the authority of many of these persons we place in certain positions, and for them to fulfill their duties effectively, the public must give their ‘approval’.
This approval is akin to a contract or a bargain where respect and authority is recognised and in exchange those persons are entitled with certain rights and privileges we deny our own selves and in doing so expect, and justifiably so, a higher standard from them in return. Therefore, when these persons betray the trust that we have placed in them, they have broken more than the law, they have broken the bargain!