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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 10 September 2015

The Digital War Room: Political Memory and Glass Houses

  - Warren Kinsella

He's right, too - you can't stop the signal.

It's not just politics, either - online presence creeping is the new police check, except it's much more pervasive and much more judgemental, too.

In one of my earliest posts on this blog, I wrote the following:

When you aren't weighing the pros and cons of doing something you know is wrong, or of not thinking an action through, you're spending more time doing what you know to be right and making sure you've thought through the consequences. 

I didn't know as much about how the brain and behaviour works then as I do now, and while I still believe that consciousness leads to mindfulness leads to more responsible individuals and a more mature society, I'm less certain about how easy it'll be to get there.

The theory is that youth is a time for development, exploration, acculturation; you're going to do things in your younger years that, down the road, will be seen as questionable.  It's true for all of us. At the same time, there are things we do in our personal lives we wouldn't dream of doing in our professional lives (eg - almost every teacher I know is a potty-mouth when they get together outside of school).

At the end of the day, it isn't always clear what's right - and what's right can shift over time.  Should John A be vilified for what he got wrong, or commended for what he got right?  

How much of this should we be judged on in the present?  What bearing should youthful indiscretions or lessons learned have on our individual present?  How about when something or someone we have publicly supported (say, Mike Duffy or Jian Gomeshi) turns out to be a fraud or have unacceptable demons in their closet?  Should our ignorance in the past forever define who we are and how our judgement is judged?

As digital natives grow up, the entirety of their lives will be available for scrutiny in real time.  Those who are inclined to believe they have the right/need/entitlement/whatever to represent others will continue to be the kind of people who live large and have skeletons in their closet.  

What impact does this have on how we view potential representatives, and who is willing to put their name forward for public office?  Should some sort of regulation on War Room activity be enacted? Shoud individuals be more cautious over the entirety of their lives - is that even possible?  Should voters be less judgemental of skeletons in closets - and to what degree?

It's a conversation we need to start having now.

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