Should candidates for public office or elected officials be held accountable for their actions when they were students?

In February, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was accused of appearing in a photo dressed either in blackface or in a KKK outfit. The photo was found in Governor Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook. Although Governor Northam denies appearing in the yearbook photo, he did admit to wearing blackface to dress up as Michael Jackson for a 1984 party. The yearbook photo and Governor Northam’s admission to wearing blackface, regardless of the situation, has caused many in the U.S. to call for his resignation.

Those calling for Governor Northam’s resignation believe that any racist behavior, even as a student, makes him unfit for office. Although Northam denies he appeared in the yearbook photo, many think that any admittance to wearing blackface is grounds for resignation and makes Governor Northam unfit for office.

Those who believe Governor Northam should not resign maintain that the antics of Northam as a student do not disqualify him for public office as a matured adult. While many on this side do not think Governor Northam’s past actions should be overlooked, they do believe that mistakes made as a student should not dictate his ability to serve in public office. What do you think? Should candidates for public office or elected officials be held accountable for their actions when they were students?

Current Standings:
Yes: 41%
No: 59%
  • Manuel from Nevada

    Yes, Candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn be held accountable for their actions when they were students because when we are young we may do things that are not so smart. But when your 18 years old you should know by then what are the consequences of your actions.

    [read less]

    Yes, Candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn be held accountable for their actions when they were students because when we are young…

    [read more]
    2
    • E. from Colorado

      They should be held accountable in situations relating to overall personality and traits. If someone has a racist photo or is accused of being a rapist (or other sort of harassment), they should have their stance taken away and given to the runner-up because as a country, we should expect the best types of people to run for office. I wouldn’t want someone dangerous running in the election.

      [read less]

      They should be held accountable in situations relating to overall personality and traits. If someone has a racist photo or is accused of being a rapis…

      [read more]
      0
    • g from Colorado

      I agree with what you say but the social norms back then are totally different then whats okay today. They should know the consequences but why are we punishing them for something that happened over ten years ago you know?

      [read less]

      I agree with what you say but the social norms back then are totally different then whats okay today. They should know the consequences but why are we…

      [read more]
      0
    • Logan from Colorado

      Exactly. It is shown that an underdeveloped brain is prone to make bad decisions. When becoming an adult experience and a nearly fully developed brain should be able to make the correct decisions. Plus, being an adult naturally comes with greater responsibilities that are known and will follow you forever.

      [read less]

      Exactly. It is shown that an underdeveloped brain is prone to make bad decisions. When becoming an adult experience and a nearly fully developed brain…

      [read more]
      0
    • Alex from Colorado

      I agree to an extent, when you are 18 yes, you should know the weight of your actions, but who hasn’t done something stupid they regret? Something serious such as assault should effect the results, but something petty or minor such as skipping class one day or calling in sick when you really weren’t shouldn’t.

      [read less]

      I agree to an extent, when you are 18 yes, you should know the weight of your actions, but who hasn’t done something stupid they regret? Something ser…

      [read more]
      0
  • Rachel from Nevada

    Candidates for public office or elected offices should be held accountable for their actions because even though time has passed and people can change, the moment they decided to do something they weren’t, still exist. Also, if the candidates or elected officials were changed people, they would have no problem accepting the things they did wrong when they were students. Everyone is held accountable for the things they did, no matter what position they hold.

    [read less]

    Candidates for public office or elected offices should be held accountable for their actions because even though time has passed and people can change…

    [read more]
    2
  • Kristen from Tennessee

    In their teens, the are aware of right an wrong, it’s not a little mistake

    0
  • James from Tennessee

    A young man under the age of 21 should not be held accountable for something that was a trend of that era. You cannot create a judgement based on the past actions of people who didn’t know any better and were just confirming to the social standards of the time. While if they were to do something that is morally and/or socially wrong today they would be held accountable. A man should not be held accountable for the actions of a child.

    [read less]

    A young man under the age of 21 should not be held accountable for something that was a trend of that era. You cannot create a judgement based on the …

    [read more]
    0
  • Grace from North Carolina

    Everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions. No one is immune to this rule. A toddler who runs in the road is to be held responsible the same as a politician. At college age you should know better.

    [read less]

    Everyone needs to be held accountable for their actions. No one is immune to this rule. A toddler who runs in the road is to be held responsible the s…

    [read more]
    0
  • Bennett from New Hampshire

    Yes, candidates for public office are held accountable for their actions when they are in office, therfore there should be no difference when they were in school. I think that all citizens should be held accountable for all their actions no matter when they do something.

    [read less]

    Yes, candidates for public office are held accountable for their actions when they are in office, therfore there should be no difference when they wer…

    [read more]
    0
  • Noah from Tennessee

    Yes, candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions in the past, regardless of when these actions were performed. This isn’t to say that a person cannot change over time, as everyone does, but they should still be held accountable. If someone commits a serious crime in their early 20s and are not found out until they are older, they obviously should still be held accountable. The crime should not be brushed away because they have changed. In the case of Governor Northam, he should be held accountable; he did something that was racist and offensive. Whether or not he has changed over time does not change what he did.

    [read less]

    Yes, candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions in the past, regardless of when these actions were performed. This isn…

    [read more]
    0
  • Lyndzee from Tennessee

    I believe it’s important for people to be held accountable for actions. Morally and ethically, however, I believe people should want to accept responsibility for their actions. How can we expect injustices and bigotry to be put to a stop when political leaders are unable to even stop themselves? With the skeletons being pulled out of closets, political figures and candidates are more worried about keeping their appearances and reputations rather than morals and accepting consquences.

    [read less]

    I believe it’s important for people to be held accountable for actions. Morally and ethically, however, I believe people should want to accept respons…

    [read more]
    0
  • Autumn from Tennessee

    Yes, candidates should be held accountable for what they did in college because you’re old enough to know better. Especially because the given example was in medical school at the time of this photo. That means that he was in his mid to late 20’s and he still didn’t think of the consequences. I am currently a senior in high school and I know better than to post or share something online that could make me look bad because it’s always going to be there. Yes, he was younger, and yes racism was more imminent at this time, but that still reflects on how he feels about the controversy.

    [read less]

    Yes, candidates should be held accountable for what they did in college because you’re old enough to know better. Especially because the given example…

    [read more]
    0
  • raquan from New Jersey

    I believe that elected officials should be held accountable for their actions form when they were younger up to a certain extent. Buy that I mean that every factor of the situation should be taken into consideration as age, maturity, things that the person does now, what types of things that the person participates in, check social medias and those types of things. You have to take into consideration that people can and do chance and you never know if you don’t know them, nobody wants to be judged off of their past.

    [read less]

    I believe that elected officials should be held accountable for their actions form when they were younger up to a certain extent. Buy that I mean that…

    [read more]
    0
  • Charlize from Colorado

    Candidates for public officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students if they are acts of hate or danger to others. If a candidate was accused or convicted of sexual assault but they were a student at the time, they shouldn’t just be given the ‘forgive and forget’ treatment because they weren’t fully grown. Somebody who did that once should be held accountable for what they did and even if it was a while ago, they did something so heinous and hateful they shouldn’t be aloud to represent the people when having committed such a hateful act. people can only change so much and a person willing to do something that others are not wanting them to be in office for should be reason enough to not elect them no matter if they were a student or not.

    [read less]

    Candidates for public officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students if they are acts of hate or danger to others. If …

    [read more]
    0
  • Emmalee from Illinois

    If regular US citizens or are held responsible 20 years later and so should US officials. I think if you do something wrong you have to be punished no matter how much time goes by. If they get away with it they can get away with anything. They have to be held responsible people should know there running our government. If they’re bad people I think they should even lose their position.

    [read less]

    If regular US citizens or are held responsible 20 years later and so should US officials. I think if you do something wrong you have to be punished n…

    [read more]
    0
  • Mouktika from Texas

    Recent studies show that one’s personality develops starting from a young age, and is fully developed by the age of six years. Although it may seem as if Governer Northum had “grown out of that mentality” he probably did not. A good childhood is important for many, and if he had grown up learning that blackface or the KKK was an okay concept, he would only grow up and teach it to everyone. I believe that yes, he is responsible for his actions as a kid since those actions will still impact his outlook and decisions he makes today.

    [read less]

    Recent studies show that one’s personality develops starting from a young age, and is fully developed by the age of six years. Although it may seem as…

    [read more]
    0
  • Kai from New York

    Candidates for public office and elected officials should absolutely be held accountable for their actions when they were students. Speaking as a current high school student, at this age it is not as if we are completely unaware of right and wrong, we do not lack inhibitions or moral development. We have a full understanding of our actions and of the consequences of our actions and the choice to ignore them is not easily forgivable. In the case of governor Northam, he was in graduate school, a number of years older than even I am. He knows Jim Crow, the KKK, he knows what they mean and that they hurt people. While I am not saying that his entire career should be over now, we cannot allow this to just blow over and show other people out there of all ages that this behavior is fine. There needs to be consequences so that the cycle of misbehavior can be broken.

    [read less]

    Candidates for public office and elected officials should absolutely be held accountable for their actions when they were students. Speaking as a curr…

    [read more]
    0
  • Katie from Tennessee

    Some people may say it’s too harsh, but elected officials should be held accountable to their actions, even if they were just teenagers. People should feel that their vote is going towards a person who has the same mindset/qualities that they would personally like to have for their country. Past offenses don’t 100% define a person, but certain actions and morals can show what the candidates may truly believe outside of their campaign. Ralph Northam was accused of being in a photograph of two men dressed up in blackface and a KKK suit. He came forward to apologize for his actions, but the apology seemed forced. I don’t believe he was actually sorry, he was just sorry that he was caught.

    [read less]

    Some people may say it’s too harsh, but elected officials should be held accountable to their actions, even if they were just teenagers. People should…

    [read more]
    0
  • Simon from Colorado

    Even though our brains are not fully developed at the time we are students, we can still make decisions for ourselves. If as a student you decide to bring a gun to school, you can still make that decision whether or not to bring that gun to school. In public office, the public officials are accountable for how our country is run. They can still make these decisions to say whether or not they will make a decision that would help the country or not. As an official, you have to help the common good and when they may have been younger they could have made that decision to bring a gun to school and hurt the common good. As a constituent or member of our nation, people deserve to know how our representatives have and will help the common good.

    [read less]

    Even though our brains are not fully developed at the time we are students, we can still make decisions for ourselves. If as a student you decide to b…

    [read more]
    0
  • Aleksandra from Connecticut

    Yes, any candidate running for public office should be held accountable for their actions as a student, although the gravity of the event should be considered. In Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s case, I believe that action should be taken for his error in judgment. His decision to publish a photograph with two people dressed in blackface and as a Ku Klux Klan member was immoral, even in 1984. Particularly, this event occurred when Northam was in his mid-twenties, when the brain is said to have fully matured. In any case, it is reasonable to consider any public action a candidate has made – willingly – in his lifetime because they are a reflection of that person. If we cannot support the candidate’s moral code, how would it be sensible for us to consider them as a leader of the public?

    [read less]

    Yes, any candidate running for public office should be held accountable for their actions as a student, although the gravity of the event should be co…

    [read more]
    0
  • Katherine from Tennessee

    Yes, people should be held accountable for their past actions. People can change, this is very much a truth; however your actions are what define you. Especially actions in recent memory. In this particular incident, for example, innocence or youth cannot be used as an excuse. He was well old enough to develop some morals. People’s actions define them, and this is truth. Whether you’re defined by ill actions of the past, or steps taken to make up for them, that’s up to you.

    [read less]

    Yes, people should be held accountable for their past actions. People can change, this is very much a truth; however your actions are what define you….

    [read more]
    0
  • Bailee from Tennessee

    Yes, people should be held accountable for their actions as a student. For one, “student” and “young” do not go hand in hand. Just because someone is still in school doesn’t default them to being naive. I personally believe that people who openly admit to their wrongdoings and apologize should be granted the ability to redeem themselves. However, if a topic is avoided until it is dug up, and then the accused tries to avoid it and blame it on past them, they should definitely be looked in to.

    [read less]

    Yes, people should be held accountable for their actions as a student. For one, “student” and “young” do not go hand in hand. Just because someone is …

    [read more]
    0
  • Makayla from Tennessee

    Yes these officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were younger. I believe so because we are taught “right from wrong” since birth. We should hold these officials to a higher standard because of their status: these are people we look up too and they are people who run this country. If being in office is something you want to do, you should maintain a perfect record as it is beneficial to you and looks good on your resume. Young adults should be held accountable for their actions because they do know right from wrong.

    [read less]

    Yes these officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were younger. I believe so because we are taught “right from wrong” since b…

    [read more]
    0
  • Zachary from Tennessee

    The totality of the question obliges me to say that yes, candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions as students. There are certain scenarios and histories that cannot be overlooked when considering public candidates. Other things can be assumed or proven to have changed/have no bearing on their current character, and can thereby be ignored. It depends on the severity and the context of the action, given that cultural norms can change rapidly over time. A better response to the given question would instead be “sometimes,” but given that there are situations in which a candidate must take responsibility and suffer the consequences for their past, it is better to say that they should be held accountable in general than not.

    [read less]

    The totality of the question obliges me to say that yes, candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions as students. There …

    [read more]
    0
  • Kyra from New Jersey

    I think that Ralph Northam should absolutely be held accountable for his actions because he initially completely denied that he was in the photo at all in a video he posted online, and then during his press conference he changed his story and repeatedly said words like “I don’t believe that was me” and “that’s not who I am today”; if he did not partake in this racist behavior he would have consistently used stronger language like “that was absolutely not me”. Instead of blatantly lying, if Northam had immediately admitted to his past actions and clearly showed his understanding of why these actions were so wrong, I think that it could’ve been okay for him to stay in office because racist behavior such as wearing blackface was much more culturally passable in the past than it is now (though, of course, no less inexcusable). I generally believe that actions committed by government officials when they were 18+ years of age that legitimately bring their characters into question should be investigated and taken seriously but should not necessarily be used as a method of judging their entire characters. I think this way because all humans make mistakes throughout their lives and should have the opportunity to grow past them while understanding why their past actions may have been wrong. All of that being said, there should be a consistent standard of treatment of all government officials involved in scandals, regardless of the political party they are from; for example, Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault when he was 17 years old (still a minor with worse judgment than a 18+ year old man) with no concrete evidence at all, yet there were many more demands for Kavanaugh to step down over those accusations than there have been for Northam to step down, even with the concrete evidence that Northam participated in these openly racist activities when he was a 25 year old man (human brains are fully developed at age 25, so he should’ve had better judgment).

    [read less]

    I think that Ralph Northam should absolutely be held accountable for his actions because he initially completely denied that he was in the photo at al…

    [read more]
    0
  • Olivia from New York

    With so much pressure put on students to get academic excellence, I think their sense of maturity must also be at the same bar. What you said as a fifteen-year-old honor student should reflect that of an honor student and thus be mature. Human decency should be constant throughout peoples lives and if there are any discrepancies, that red flag is the most helpful warning sign voters will get.

    [read less]

    With so much pressure put on students to get academic excellence, I think their sense of maturity must also be at the same bar. What you said as a fif…

    [read more]
    0
  • Logan from New York

    The word “students” is too vague of criteria. Obviously, it is understandable that kids of ages of 14 or younger will not make the same decisions that a grown adult would. Actions at this stage in a person’s life can and should be attributed to misunderstanding and youthful immaturity, as long as an apology is made and the person has made steps toward self-reform as they’ve grown older. However, when a politician is in high school or any further education, they should become responsible for their actions. An 18-year-old (or anybody older) should know what is acceptable and expected of them, especially if they intend to pursue a career in politics or any other public office.

    [read less]

    The word “students” is too vague of criteria. Obviously, it is understandable that kids of ages of 14 or younger will not make the same decisions that…

    [read more]
    0
  • Joshua from California

    Elected officials must be held accountable for their behavior, but only if they are not repentant. I believe elected officials must be held to a higher standard than any other position. It may be immoral to deny someone a job at some downtown office because of actions committed in college, but elected officials are far different. They shape the people’s lives, and must be held accountable for their actions.
    That being said, a persons past conduct absolutely should not be given the weight it is given currently. Even when the actions are reprehensible, if the accused demonstrates serious remorse for their actions, that should actually increase their credibility. They have seen the darker side of power and privilege, and come to reject it. By understanding what brings people to these positions, and by reflecting upon their own actions, they become in fact defenders of the very ideals they once denigrated.
    In conclusion, elected officials have far more power and influence than ordinary workers, and must be held to higher standards. But if they change, as many of us have and do and will, that must be given great weight as well.

    [read less]

    Elected officials must be held accountable for their behavior, but only if they are not repentant. I believe elected officials must be held to a high…

    [read more]
    0
  • Melissa from Florida

    Yes I think to a certain extent they should be held accountable especially if it is something particularly bad. Most young adults know right from wrong and even though they may be young they have to understand that their are consequences to their actions. We cannot let young people think that being young excuses them from their actions. There is not free pass in life and they need to take that into consideration with their actions and behaviors.

    [read less]

    Yes I think to a certain extent they should be held accountable especially if it is something particularly bad. Most young adults know right from wron…

    [read more]
    0
  • Leo from Texas

    Candidates who are running for office should be held accountable for their past, they will be representing a big group of people and if they see how they were in the past saying positive stuff about something that is horrible then they won’t feel represented if they hung out with the bad crowd then I feel like that should be ignored, but if it’s like comparing people to like animals or attacking someone for their not being born here then they should take responsibility for their actions, if the people see that they have apologized for what they did and we see that they have truly changed then we should give them a chance.

    [read less]

    Candidates who are running for office should be held accountable for their past, they will be representing a big group of people and if they see how t…

    [read more]
    0
  • Danielle from Georgia

    Everything happens for a reason. Everything should be accounted for. The past never really goes away. It only covers up but in the light it is clear as day. That’s why it’s important for people to carry themselves the way they want because any mistake will reach them again.

    [read less]

    Everything happens for a reason. Everything should be accounted for. The past never really goes away. It only covers up but in the light it is clear a…

    [read more]
    0
  • Kaylee from Texas

    Every candidate should be held accountable for their actions up to a certain extent.

    0
  • Montzerrat from Pennsylvania

    A politician is seen as a leader in a community and in order to be one, there actions should reflect it. Although everyone is a human being and makes mistakes, the right thing to do would own up to a mistake instead of trying to cover it up. Regardless, just because one is young it is not a free pass to make reckless decisions. In the real world adults dont get to make huge mistakes with out having to pay the consequences. I know adolescents are like, opps! I messed up no big deal, I’ll get away with it, but unfortunately that’s not how it works in the real world. Anyway, It’s just a good life skill that should be practiced from an early age because it’s a concept that is used in the real world.

    [read less]

    A politician is seen as a leader in a community and in order to be one, there actions should reflect it. Although everyone is a human being and makes …

    [read more]
    0
  • Delaney from Washington

    In general, I believe that people do many things when they are young and dumb. However, this particular situation has me of the opinion that he needs to be held accountable. First, context is important. This yearbook was not his high school or even his college yearbook, it was his med school yearbook! At this point, he was no longer even remotely a “kid”, but an adult who needs to be held responsible for his actions. The other thing is that he did not own up to it. If his immediate response had been, “yes, I did do that, and it was incredibly racist. However, I apologize, and have changed as a person since then. I no longer believe that blackface is okay, and I have fought my hardest for racial equality.” etc, etc, then I would have been much more likely to forgive. Rather than offering an apology and a statement of change, he downplayed it, then tried to deny it!
    Ultimately though, I am a white person, and he is a white person, and a lot of the people who have called for his resignation are white. I think that this is a moment where we should be turning to the African American community for their opinion, and listening to what they have to say.

    [read less]

    In general, I believe that people do many things when they are young and dumb. However, this particular situation has me of the opinion that he needs …

    [read more]
    0
  • Stockten from Texas

    Actions speak volumes. As voters, we should analyze the full extent of any candidate’s actions as they can be essential in determining or predicting policy actions or opinions in the future. No matter how antiquated, actions, especially those ridden with hate or ignorance (i.e. blackface, cultural appropriation, et cetera), still affect people to this day.

    [read less]

    Actions speak volumes. As voters, we should analyze the full extent of any candidate’s actions as they can be essential in determining or predicting …

    [read more]
    0
  • Taniyah from Georgia

    Yes they should be held responsible for their actions when they were younger to a certain extent. Little things such as hanging out with the wrong crowd or other simple mistakes should be ignored. However, mistakes that question the character of the candidate should be taken into consideration. Situations such as abuse, lies, or causing any form physical harm should most definitely be brought to light.

    [read less]

    Yes they should be held responsible for their actions when they were younger to a certain extent. Little things such as hanging out with the wrong cro…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jaelyn from Ohio

    Even as a young adult you know the difference between right and wrong. Obviously you make mistakes but if your action was bad enough that it should be up for debate than yes you should be held accountable.

    [read less]

    Even as a young adult you know the difference between right and wrong. Obviously you make mistakes but if your action was bad enough that it should be…

    [read more]
    0
  • nicole from New Jersey

    If we do something wrong you need to be accountable.

    0
  • Kayla from Virginia

    Elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students because we must hold elected officials to a higher standard than any other citizen. These officials are representing their contingencies and do we want to be represented by someone who thought that putting himself in black face or a KKK costume while in College is okay? As a representative body we must hold our officials accountable for their past actions, even if they were a student. We have to do better, because these people make our laws and shape our country. They must be held to the highest standard.

    [read less]

    Elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students because we must hold elected officials to a higher standard tha…

    [read more]
    0
  • Hanna from Kentucky

    I think politicians should be held accountable for past actions. However, I think it depends on the severity of the crime and the age of the politician. I understand that kids make dumb mistakes and shouldn’t be held accountable for everything they’ve done in the past. If past offenses were unearthed, politicians should own up to the truth and make a statement to apologize for all those offended.

    [read less]

    I think politicians should be held accountable for past actions. However, I think it depends on the severity of the crime and the age of the politicia…

    [read more]
    0
  • Tanner from Kentucky

    I think people in office should be held accountable for their actions that they did when they were students because they made those decisions and the have to face the consequences.

    0
  • Peyton from Kentucky

    I think that candidates for public office or elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students because their actions represent them as people. I would not want a leader or a representative to represent me if they were known for being sexist, racist, or committing some kind of violent or sexual assault. No one is perfect, however, these crimes are easily avoided, and an act of sexual assault or extreme prejudice is an indicator of poor character, and therefore leads me to believe that they would not be suitable for public office. Some people might have made mistakes that they are sorry for, then they should apologize for their past errors and recognize them rather than attempting to hide them. A candidate for a public office position or an elected official must realize that by taking that role they are inviting people to look into their life and their past, including their mistakes.

    [read less]

    I think that candidates for public office or elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students because their acti…

    [read more]
    0
  • Vivian from Maryland

    We are taught to take responsibility of our actions, whether time has passed or not does not erase the offense. Think of our court system, even if decades have passed, people can still be charged for theft or murder. Though if the committed offense if not criminal, I think the cultural norms of the time and if any repentance has occurred should be taken into account. For example, I’m not defending Ralph Northam, but whose to say that we might not have acted the same way if we born at the time period. The degree of punishment is found analyzing these circumstances, but the politicians should still be held accountable as they are to be our leaders and role models who reflect our current values.

    [read less]

    We are taught to take responsibility of our actions, whether time has passed or not does not erase the offense. Think of our court system, even if dec…

    [read more]
    0
  • Harman from Oklahoma

    Yes, because in my opinion, it shows how the candidate’s character is. Character development is affected by family and peers we surround. It shows the candidate’s decision-making skills when they were young. But if the candidate can show any proof that he/she was able to improve, then the candidate has a valid reason to be excused because humans make mistake and correct it. People who repeat mistake intentionally and knowing it is wrong, then they do not deserve to be called human. If the candidate has no proof of improvement then there is no chance they can improve our country. They have to start from themselves and then think about the country.

    [read less]

    Yes, because in my opinion, it shows how the candidate’s character is. Character development is affected by family and peers we surround. It shows the…

    [read more]
    0
  • Madeline from Delaware

    If a person has behaved poorly in the past, it is important to make an example of them to show the youth how to act properly.

    0
  • Mya from Virginia

    I think that the candidate should be accountable for their actions in the sense that they should make a public statement apologizing and saying that they no longer support their actions or believe what they did in the past. I don;t think they should be forced to resign.

    [read less]

    I think that the candidate should be accountable for their actions in the sense that they should make a public statement apologizing and saying that t…

    [read more]
    0
    • Jonathan from Colorado

      I agree that the punishments should not be too harsh as long as they acknowledge what they did. Losing a job because of a controversial cause will change and potentially ruin a person’s record for a long period of time. Forcing an official or candidate to resign should only be a last resort. There are other ways to punish someone based on their situation.

      [read less]

      I agree that the punishments should not be too harsh as long as they acknowledge what they did. Losing a job because of a controversial cause will cha…

      [read more]
      0
  • Mark from Michigan

    The actions taken in ones youth should be taken into consideration when being placed in a position where they would have power over other people, as it can tell us how they see the world and how they act once given power over a person. Actions taken in elementary school, high school, and college should be taken into consideration, but most weight placed on high school and college. These actions show how they see themselves when they have power over others, especially in sports or leaders in clubs. Mistakes are one thing, but when a person makes a severe mistake, such as unprovoked assault or robbery, these actions should not legally bar people from positions of power, but socially should make their political careers much harder to make and have them show how much they changed.

    [read less]

    The actions taken in ones youth should be taken into consideration when being placed in a position where they would have power over other people, as i…

    [read more]
    0
  • Alayna from Arizona

    Teaching kids that it is acceptable to make any decision without consequences just because they grow up is wrong. No one should be killed or jailed because of an offensive joke they made when they were young, for example, but teaching that consequences do not exist is a dangerous lesson.

    [read less]

    Teaching kids that it is acceptable to make any decision without consequences just because they grow up is wrong. No one should be killed or jailed be…

    [read more]
    0
  • Madison from Virginia

    Although it may seem harsh, elected officials should be held to past offenses. As electors of officials, citizens should feel that their vote is going towards a person who embodies all the qualities that that citizen would like to uphold for their country. Past defenses do not necessarily define a candidate, but poor behavior and morals can give insight into the lives that candidates may lead and believe in outside of the publicized versions of themselves through the media. Current Virginia representatives and their electors have been faced with such ethical challenges. For example, Ralph Northam, the current governor of VA has been accused of being in a photograph of two men dressed up in blackface and a KKK suit. He came forward to apologize for his actions, but shortly after he dismissed that it was indeed him in the photograph. Regardless of partisanship and how a person may stand on the issue, actions like this and possibly lying about an issue afterwards is deceiving to the citizens who believed Northam to be quite the opposite of these standards.

    [read less]

    Although it may seem harsh, elected officials should be held to past offenses. As electors of officials, citizens should feel that their vote is going…

    [read more]
    0
  • Allison from Wisconsin

    While growth and maturing happens with age, when entering the public eye and becoming a role that is expected to be a leader, one must take into account their past actions and not only acknowledge their wrongdoings but hold themselves accountable and make it right. If we expect those who have acted in the past in deplorable ways to not face repercussions because it was in the past, America would not progress and learn from mistakes.

    [read less]

    While growth and maturing happens with age, when entering the public eye and becoming a role that is expected to be a leader, one must take into accou…

    [read more]
    0
  • Lizeth from Texas

    It is important to pay attention to actions from these candidates committed when they were students in both high school and college, especially if these actions were racist or sexist and if these actions were prevalent in their character. These candidates are given a big platform to share their message and speak on behalf of many people, so when certain actions from their past come up, that trust to represent many people can be easily misinterpreted. Oftentimes, racist and sexist acts resurfaced, such as blackface or rape, so it understandable that many are hesitant and take caution. When this happens, some leaders refuse to speak or justify their actions of the past without taking accountability, and that is when the problem arises. Fortunately, some leaders do speak out and apologize for any damage they have done, and some even go as far as to show they have learned from past actions by being advocates and allies. As a result of previous leaders and candidates, the resurface of wrongful actions from the past are a good way to hold people in higher positions accountable to see if their values are real and honest and align with the values of the American people.

    [read less]

    It is important to pay attention to actions from these candidates committed when they were students in both high school and college, especially if the…

    [read more]
    0
  • Fernando from Nevada

    What many aren’t taking into consideration was that the one time he has done something wrong, it wasn’t purposefully it was a halloween costume. A day in a year where people can dress up and be who they want by applying makeup and adding other props to the face and body. Also even though he was around the age of 22 doesn’t mean that he is the same person he was 30 odd some years ago. It is a fact that from the age of 0-10 you are not the same person and from the age 10-20 your not the same person so why would people think from the age 22-59 a person would be the same. People learn from their mistakes and this was but only a small mistake.

    [read less]

    What many aren’t taking into consideration was that the one time he has done something wrong, it wasn’t purposefully it was a halloween costume. A day…

    [read more]
    2
  • Destiny from Nevada

    Candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn be held accountable for their actions when they were students because when you are young, you do silly things . And as you get older that past comes back and haunts you , and people tend to use that against you. In this case , why does someones past have to do with the way they work ? They may have made a mistake, but as one gets older , they get wiser and the wiser they get the more they realized the mistakes they did as they were younger . One starts to mature in their late 20’s and that gives them more opportunities to change their mindset.

    [read less]

    Candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn be held accountable for their actions when they were students because when you are young, yo…

    [read more]
    2
    • Charlize from Colorado

      This is true with some situations but if a person was accused of something that was an act of hate discriminating against others because of race or sex or accused of sexual assault, just because they were students and have ‘grown and learned’ does not excuse them of their actions. All actions have consequences and they should have to face them.

      [read less]

      This is true with some situations but if a person was accused of something that was an act of hate discriminating against others because of race or se…

      [read more]
      0
    • Logan from Colorado

      Totally agreed. Naturally people make mistakes; it’s part of being human. So it ultimately comes down to whether or not can that person change. Whether or not they can or cannot should determine the consequences brought upon that person. It is contradicting to hold someone else greatly accountable for a mistake that they made a long time ago when they were young because everyone has done something they shouldn’t have. Put yourself in their shoe and it is unfair for them as for you to be held accountable.

      [read less]

      Totally agreed. Naturally people make mistakes; it’s part of being human. So it ultimately comes down to whether or not can that person change. Whethe…

      [read more]
      0
  • Daniela from Nevada

    No, I do not thinks that people should be accountable for their actions when they were younger than 18.Only because we aren’t even considered adults until were 18, or we cant do anything before 18 like work, volunteer ,etc so why should we be accountable for are immaturity when we aren’t even considered to make mature decisions. Also nobody in this entire world isn’t perfect and therefore why should we be punished for something we have don in our youth years.

    [read less]

    No, I do not thinks that people should be accountable for their actions when they were younger than 18.Only because we aren’t even considered adults u…

    [read more]
    2
    • Alex from Colorado

      I agree to some degree, but what if it has been something serious such as assault for an example? Serious issues done in the past should not go unchecked.

      0
  • Sara from California

    The essence of this issue is the question of whether people are truly capable of change or not. While I could not be sure either way, I do know that people are capable of maturing. Scientific research dictates that decision-making skills, centered in the prefrontal cortex, is not fully developed until well into adulthood. It is unfair to punish an adult who made a mistake at a young age. Think of it this way: you would not charge a high school student with academic dishonesty if they cheated on a test when they were in second grade. The same basic principle applies here, although the situation is admittedly complicated by the seriousness of the matter at hand.

    [read less]

    The essence of this issue is the question of whether people are truly capable of change or not. While I could not be sure either way, I do know that p…

    [read more]
    2
    • Kaden from Tennessee

      I completely agree with you. Plus, how many 5 year olds do you know who say “I’m going to be a politician when I grow up, so I must not do anything stupid that could jeopardize this?”

      [read less]

      I completely agree with you. Plus, how many 5 year olds do you know who say “I’m going to be a politician when I grow up, so I must not do anythin…

      [read more]
      0
  • Rae from Tennessee

    In my opinion, I don’t think candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions when they were students. The key word is “students.” People of that age are young and immature. A person’s brain isn’t even fully developed until age 25. Everyone does stupid and shameful things when they are young. They should be “disqualified” just because they are running for public office. You wouldn’t do the same to a person if they were working in, for example, retail, so why do it to him? The only reason I think he should resign is if he brings racism into his politics now, but from what I have read, he doesn’t.

    [read less]

    In my opinion, I don’t think candidates for public office should be held accountable for their actions when they were students. The key word is “stude…

    [read more]
    1
  • Austin from Tennessee

    People should be held responsible for their actions, but only to a certain degree. While what Gov. Northam did was offensive and racist, that’s all it was: offensive. He didn’t cause any harm or commit a crime, so I believe he deserves to be forgiven if he truly expresses regret for his actions and works towards healing racial division in the future.

    [read less]

    People should be held responsible for their actions, but only to a certain degree. While what Gov. Northam did was offensive and racist, that’s all …

    [read more]
    0
  • Beth from Tennessee

    He shouldn’t resign because that photo was decades ago. Between that time and now, he could be a totally different man. People change. He may of been taught racism, but he could have unlearned it as well.

    [read less]

    He shouldn’t resign because that photo was decades ago. Between that time and now, he could be a totally different man. People change. He may of been …

    [read more]
    0
  • Dalton from Tennessee

    Young people tend to make ignorant mistakes without thinking about the future consequences of these actions. This is basic human nature and everyone has had an experience that they regret now and wish they could take back. You probably wouldn’t want your whole character judged by that one mistake so why should we judge others that way.

    [read less]

    Young people tend to make ignorant mistakes without thinking about the future consequences of these actions. This is basic human nature and everyone h…

    [read more]
    0
  • Pearson from Tennessee

    Many, many years ago, a young Ralph Northam went to a party dressed as Michael Jackson. One problem: he wore blackface. The three articles given all discuss the topic with different views. The articles are from USA Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Ralph Northam should not be accountable for an action that happened over 35 years ago.

    The first article was from USA Today. It was titled “Blackface, assault allegations: How Virginia’s political crisis unfolded.” It seemed like a reliable article at first, not so biased, and with good information. The article states that Northam admitted to being in a blackface photo. I then clicked on a link in the article. It took me to another USA Today article. It stated that Northam had said that he was neither of the people in the photo. This was greatly confusing and I did not know which article to read.

    The second article was from the Washington Post. They state that Governor Northam should resign. I disagree; it hasn’t been proven that he was or wasn’t in the photograph. The article is also very one-sided and doesn’t address the other side of the debate.

    The third article was from the New York Times and was titled “Why Ralph Northam Should Not Resign”. The article states, “He may have done something ugly and dumb many years ago, when he was a young man and prevailing notions of socially permissible behavior were uglier and dumber than they are today.” The author also says that our worst and dumbest moments should not define us. I agree with this article the most because the author forgives Northam for his actions 35 years ago.

    In conclusion, the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, should not resign or be held accountable for his action 35 years ago at a college party. We’ve all made mistakes, especially when we’re young. It’s our choice if we are offended or not.

    [read less]

    Many, many years ago, a young Ralph Northam went to a party dressed as Michael Jackson. One problem: he wore blackface. The three articles given all d…

    [read more]
    0
  • Mason from Tennessee

    As a young adult you don’t make the same decisions as you would at an older more mature age. People and what they believe to be right and wrong change with time.

    0
  • Kaden from Tennessee

    I don’t think Gov. Northam should resign. This was something that happened many years ago, and he should not be defined by his actions as a very young person. He denies being the blackface or KKK member in the picture, and he admitted to dressing like Michael Jackson. Just because he was stupid then, doesn’t mean he would do the same thing now. If he showed a pattern of this behavior over the years I would not feel the same. This is a one time incident, and he should not be penalized for it as a more mature adult with no continuation of the behavior.

    [read less]

    I don’t think Gov. Northam should resign. This was something that happened many years ago, and he should not be defined by his actions as a very you…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jennifer from Tennessee

    I say no because who you were when you were younger and in school is not the same as of who you are 10 years later. As far as making mistakes in high school as well as being in your teenage years I don’t agree with someone being held accountable for actions back then knowing we have grown up and matured a lot more.

    [read less]

    I say no because who you were when you were younger and in school is not the same as of who you are 10 years later. As far as making mistakes in high …

    [read more]
    0
  • Tatiana from New Jersey

    I believe that the candidates running for public office or elected officials should not be held accountable for their actions when they were students because people change over time, and while youre in school you still have a childish mindset and most people dont think before they speak.

    [read less]

    I believe that the candidates running for public office or elected officials should not be held accountable for their actions when they were students …

    [read more]
    0
  • Fabio from New Jersey

    No, i do not believe that candidates for public office or elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students. I say this because at the time they were students things that we find offensive today might have been acceptable back then. Maybe the politician was just following a trend in the past. How were they going to know that in the future they were going to go for an important position and that what they do before will affect them today

    [read less]

    No, i do not believe that candidates for public office or elected officials should be held accountable for their actions when they were students. I sa…

    [read more]
    0
  • victoria from New Jersey

    i honestly don’t really know because life changes dramatically. one day to another you can do something really good and than some people wont like what you did and try to get something to make you look bad, like looking at your past. so i can basically say that they shouldn’t be accountable for their actions when they were students because you change throughout time and maybe back than it wasn’t that serious but again through time people make it more serious than it was already back than cause its worse now and people take it the wrong way now or make it the wrong way. every little thing you do now you cant do it because people will go against you real quick with something from the past just to make you look bad.

    [read less]

    i honestly don’t really know because life changes dramatically. one day to another you can do something really good and than some people wont like wha…

    [read more]
    0
  • Gabriella from Tennessee

    In my opinion, Candidates should not be held accountable for what they have done in the past. If they own up to the mistake and when they are fully grown as an adult and understand what they did as a young person was wrong then they should not be held accountable. They have lived with that mistake from the time being a young adult to an adult and they have learned what to do and what not to do. In an article they say,” that the brain does not fully develop until at the age of 25.” In all candidate should not be held accountable for their actions when they were students.

    [read less]

    In my opinion, Candidates should not be held accountable for what they have done in the past. If they own up to the mistake and when they are fully gr…

    [read more]
    0
  • Adrian from Arizona

    No, Because people can change and people grow up we all do stupid thing as kid. We should have to leave with that we learn form our mistakes.

    0
  • Rachael from Colorado

    No,but mostly in certain situations. I think by the time they are that much older, thy definitely could have changed their views, or feel regretful about them. That is, unless it was an action against another human being with the intent to harm. Bullying to suicide, rape, robbery, really just general crimes.

    [read less]

    No,but mostly in certain situations. I think by the time they are that much older, thy definitely could have changed their views, or feel regretful ab…

    [read more]
    0
  • Lily Rose from Colorado

    No, elected officials should not be held accountable for actions they held as a student. We have records under the age of 18 that are cleared when we turn 18 and become an adult, and so the same should be said for stupid actions we may have done. Also, being a student and growing up is a part of life and everybody does stupid things when they’re growing up, so saying something you said when you were 15 is what you still believe is just not smart.

    [read less]

    No, elected officials should not be held accountable for actions they held as a student. We have records under the age of 18 that are cleared when we …

    [read more]
    0
  • Justin from Virginia

    I don’t think that elected officials should be judged based on their actions when they were younger due to the fact that life is about experiences and people learn from their mistakes. Not everyone stays the same as they were in their youth, people mature and change their personalities. Many people look back to their childhood and question some of the choices they made. Some people would think that you always have the same morals you grew up with, yet certain life lessons change them throughout time.

    [read less]

    I don’t think that elected officials should be judged based on their actions when they were younger due to the fact that life is about experiences and…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jessa from Oregon

    I think that everyone deserves a chance to change. I think also that many people who run for office do so years after they were students and we have to recognize the historical context and societal norms of the times in which they lived.

    [read less]

    I think that everyone deserves a chance to change. I think also that many people who run for office do so years after they were students and we have …

    [read more]
    0
    • Jonathan from Colorado

      People change and adapt when they grow older, but do they adjust for the better or for their own interests? I agree that we must fully comprehend the social standards during the time of the incident and investigate further in regards to context. Every person makes mistakes, but not all mistakes have the same consequences.

      [read less]

      People change and adapt when they grow older, but do they adjust for the better or for their own interests? I agree that we must fully comprehend the …

      [read more]
      0
  • David from Texas

    He was young! How can you blame someone, that is much older and mature now, for their past mistakes? Let me tell you something. People blaming him for this probably did something a lot worse or just as bad when they were young. We are all human. We make mistakes. No matter what race or nationality you are, you are still human and you have made mistakes and nobody can deny that. We make mistakes for a reason. Once we make a mistake we know it and admit it. We get through it and go on in life. He was young when he made that mistake. He might have not been very mature back then, but this is 2019. People change throughout the years. We all change. You should not keep somebody from the job they love just because they made a simple mistake. Also, that was during Halloween. We all dress up as crazy things on Halloween because that’s what you do on Halloween. You and your friends dress up as crazy and funny things because that’s the one day of the year you can do that. Nobody should be punished for what they did 20-30 years ago ON HALLOWEEN. This is all insanity. People criticize other people for one little mistake they made so long ago. People mature and grow up. When we mature we look at our past mistakes and regret it of course but it’s all in the past. Like I stated before we are all humans and humans all make mistakes. There is not one person out there that hasn’t made a mistake in their life. SO, after this long response, you should be able to understand now that this man or anybody else that has been accused of a silly mistake should not lose their job or be heavily criticized. This is all coming from a teenage girl with common sense. Once again, you and me are human and nobody can change that. We ALL make mistakes.

    [read less]

    He was young! How can you blame someone, that is much older and mature now, for their past mistakes? Let me tell you something. People blaming him for…

    [read more]
    0
  • Mary Brenna from California

    No. While people’s actions when they were students may reflect who they are as a person, this is not a guarantee. People’s brains are not fully developed until they are 25, so students’ actions may be influenced by their inevitable scientific immaturity. There are also factors such as peer pressure and homesickness that may influence a students’ actions but would not affect a candidates’ decision by the time they are running for office. Thus, if in the time between school and running for office, the candidate has adapted their behavior and has matured from the time they were in school, their actions during school should not influence their eligibility for office.

    [read less]

    No. While people’s actions when they were students may reflect who they are as a person, this is not a guarantee. People’s brains are not fully develo…

    [read more]
    0
  • Axel from Nevada

    I believe that candidates or political officials shouldnt be held accountable for what they did when they were students because that was their time for experimentation and making dumb decisions just like everyone else and after they leave school is when they are dragged into the adult world and are hopefully ready to make all the right choices for themselves.

    [read less]

    I believe that candidates or political officials shouldnt be held accountable for what they did when they were students because that was their time fo…

    [read more]
    0
  • Christopher from Tennessee

    This question was hard to answer. I feel that if there is rape or sexual abuse allegations, then it should definitely be looked into. If proven true, then yes, I believe it should affect their political lives. Although I said all of that, I do not believe that this photo in question warrants Ralph Northam losing his job. That photo is very offensive and wrong, but it was also taken in 1984 when that was much more widely accepted. So I feel that the question is not as cut and dry as you are asking, but this answer seems to show my opinion more truthfully.

    [read less]

    This question was hard to answer. I feel that if there is rape or sexual abuse allegations, then it should definitely be looked into. If proven true, …

    [read more]
    0
  • Natalie from Tennessee

    I chose no because it’s closest to my opinion. If it were an option, I would have chosen the one that said: “depends on the case”. People make mistakes almost every day of their lives, and while some of them are really bad and unforgivable, some are small enough to forget. I think that we have to give people time to grow, so a small mistake an adult made back in high school should not define him. Of course, there are certain mistakes that should never be forgotten. These things include dangerous acts that could possibly be threatening to citizen’s safety. Other than those types of mistakes, I don’t think that public officers should have to step down from their positions because of a little mistake from their childhood.

    [read less]

    I chose no because it’s closest to my opinion. If it were an option, I would have chosen the one that said: “depends on the case”. People make mistake…

    [read more]
    0
  • Austin from Nevada

    The choices he made as a student, he also made as a party attendant. He dressed up like that for a party in a different time where the norms were so different that it was acceptable. Since change is interlaced in human nature than the changing of norms and changing of human values this choice became unacceptable. He should be held accountable so that he knows how wrong what he did was.

    [read less]

    The choices he made as a student, he also made as a party attendant. He dressed up like that for a party in a different time where the norms were so d…

    [read more]
    0
  • Sarah from Maryland

    You can’t judge a person on things they did 20, 30 years ago. We are all evolving as we get older to be the people we are today. I believe anyone can change if they want to change. In your younger years you are experimenting with life, as you age you have the experience to see if those actions make you a better or worse person.

    [read less]

    You can’t judge a person on things they did 20, 30 years ago. We are all evolving as we get older to be the people we are today. I believe anyone ca…

    [read more]
    0
  • Em from Tennessee

    I find this question, at its core, is do we hold an adult accountable for their actions when they were younger- specifically teenagers not much older than I am now? We all make dumb mistakes and they come back to haunt us, but if you truly show an attempt at change, I don’t believe the accountability should be pressed so far in the future. If you were going to take action on it, it should’ve been in the past when it was a fresh and recent activity and not far in the future.

    [read less]

    I find this question, at its core, is do we hold an adult accountable for their actions when they were younger- specifically teenagers not much older …

    [read more]
    0
  • Benjamin from Pennsylvania

    As students, we have done things that we may regret, and it should definitely not affect our ability to hold political office. But, the issue is much deeper. In regards to Gov. Ralph Northam, he did something that many see as undeniably racist. Even I acknowledge it, but as individuals, we need to look at this for what it is. We need to ask ourselves if this really affects us, and if it does not, then why are we making a big deal about it? Ralph Northam wearing blackface in a yearbook photo from 50 years ago does not cause any harm to African Americans today, even though feelings may be hurt. The same goes for Justice Kavanaugh. It should be less about our feelings regarding some mistake made half a century ago and more focused on how that individual acts today and their policy stances. Rather than Northam’s yearbook disqualifying him, it should be his terrible policies that do. Rather than Kavanaugh’s yearbook disqualifying him, it should be his terrible track record on the Bill of Rights that does. Ultimately, we need to stop succumbing to the outrage machine, and look past all this petty nonsense in order to get to the crux of the real issues. The real issue in this case is whether an individual should be elected into political office, and that should be completely decided by a populace that looks at policy, rather than yearbook photos.

    [read less]

    As students, we have done things that we may regret, and it should definitely not affect our ability to hold political office. But, the issue is much …

    [read more]
    0
  • Alison from Tennessee

    I think that what a person does when they are so young shouldn’t be something that people hold against them forever. People can change over time and what they think of as right and wrong can also change. When someone does something that at one point is very frowned upon they shouldn’t have to worry about it resurfacing and haunting them one day when their views and values have changed drastically.

    [read less]

    I think that what a person does when they are so young shouldn’t be something that people hold against them forever. People can change over time and…

    [read more]
    0
  • Drew from Tennessee

    I believe people make mistakes especially when they are in school. High schoolers definitely make tons of mistakes and thats how they learn from them. Judging a person off there old behaviors isn’t fair. As we age, most of us become more mature and think before we act.

    [read less]

    I believe people make mistakes especially when they are in school. High schoolers definitely make tons of mistakes and thats how they learn from them….

    [read more]
    0
  • Kody from Tennessee

    I don’t believe that he should resign because of that picture. Everyone does something stupid while they are young. Somethings i can see needing to be dealt with like if he was arrested. But just wearing a costume for a party shouldn’t get someone fired from their job.

    [read less]

    I don’t believe that he should resign because of that picture. Everyone does something stupid while they are young. Somethings i can see needing to be…

    [read more]
    0
  • John from Tennessee

    I don’t believe they should. Part of growing up, especially as teenagers, is to learn from our mistakes, and in this case it’s no different. What can’t be overlooked when considering this is how the times have changed since the accused were in high school. Obviously, a joke 20-30 years ago probably wouldn’t be classified as a joke today, but that’s down to how we’ve changed as a society, not necessarily the person as a whole. What someone did decades ago shouldn’t alter how we view the person in the present. People change and evolve over time, after all.

    [read less]

    I don’t believe they should. Part of growing up, especially as teenagers, is to learn from our mistakes, and in this case it’s no different. What …

    [read more]
    0
  • Jessica from Tennessee

    When people are young, they are bound to make mistakes. I think that overall candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn’t be held responsible for decisions made when they are students because everybody makes mistakes. Nobody would be able to be elected if they couldn’t have made a bad choice as a kid, or everybody would be in fear and never want to run. I agree that, to an extent, they should be responsible for their childhood, though. If they made a major terrible action, they shouldn’t be allowed to be elected.

    [read less]

    When people are young, they are bound to make mistakes. I think that overall candidates for public office or elected officials shouldn’t be held res…

    [read more]
    0
  • Isaac from Tennessee

    Although Ralph Northam’s actions when he was in Medical school were very racist and insensitive, I do not believe that those actions should be what makes him fit or not fit to serve. Rather what he has done to make up for those actions and what he has done good for the people, should be what determines that. Because the truth is not everyone stays the same, we all change and we all find things we used to laugh at or do wrong or stupid.

    [read less]

    Although Ralph Northam’s actions when he was in Medical school were very racist and insensitive, I do not believe that those actions should be what …

    [read more]
    0
  • Elsa from California

    Youthful indiscretion should not be the deciding factor with your career. If the brain doesn’t fully develop in males until 25, should anything that is done before the age of 25 really be an indication of morals, ethics, and trustworthiness? We were all young and dumb once, why be crucified for it 35 years later?

    [read less]

    Youthful indiscretion should not be the deciding factor with your career. If the brain doesn’t fully develop in males until 25, should anything that i…

    [read more]
    0
  • Joe from California

    -Clearly, this is referring to Virginia Governor Northam.-
    Although Northam’s photo in his yearbook was clearly a poorly thought out decision, forgiveness is important. If he does decide to step down, then he hasn’t even forgiven himself, but if he apologizes and stands his ground, then maybe he stands a chance.

    [read less]

    -Clearly, this is referring to Virginia Governor Northam.-
    Although Northam’s photo in his yearbook was clearly a poorly thought out decision, forgiv…

    [read more]
    0
  • Isabella from Connecticut

    If we cannot hold children accountable in a court of law, how can we force public officials to be accountable for their actions before they were seen as capable citizens?

    0
  • Lindsay from New Hampshire

    I do not believe so. People are imperfect and make mistakes and holding them accountable for something they did decades earlier seems like fishing for straws, especially if the action was not illegal. In some cases, I think it is important to bring up a past action for explanation or a clear defense, but holding someone accountable and punishing them for something stupid they said in High School seems unfair. In the case of Governor Northam, I believe he should absolutely have to explain himself, but due to the fact that his behavior since then does not exemplify those beliefs, I believe it must be let go.

    [read less]

    I do not believe so. People are imperfect and make mistakes and holding them accountable for something they did decades earlier seems like fishing for…

    [read more]
    0
  • Logan from Louisiana

    People change, therefore actions committed in school should not be held against them.

    0
  • Erin from Michigan

    What you did as a teen can’t always hold you back from what you do in the future.

    0
  • Lauren from Kentucky

    No, I don’t think so because people can change throughout their lives and people might have made some choices during high school that they wish they have never made. But on the same side, you are accountable for all of your choices, so sometimes too big of a mistake can’t be covered up.

    [read less]

    No, I don’t think so because people can change throughout their lives and people might have made some choices during high school that they wish they h…

    [read more]
    0
  • Mason from Indiana

    I don’t think they should be held accountable because the past should stay in the past, and should not be brought back up unless its a serious degree.. Mistakes are made everyday, and I feel like some people use it as ammo to try and sabotage the opposing candidate.

    [read less]

    I don’t think they should be held accountable because the past should stay in the past, and should not be brought back up unless its a serious degree….

    [read more]
    0
  • Joey from Kentucky

    No, they shouldn’t because many times there is little to no evidence or proof because of how long ago the occurrence happened. In the case of Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault from his junior year of high school. There was very little evidence and the case came down to “he said she said” that ruined the man’s life. Sometimes, people make stupid mistakes as children and they learn from it and it does not always reflect their character.

    [read less]

    No, they shouldn’t because many times there is little to no evidence or proof because of how long ago the occurrence happened. In the case of Brett K…

    [read more]
    0
  • Quinton from Kentucky

    They make dumb mistakes as kids and now they are grown. They make completely different decisions.

    0
  • Brennan from Kentucky

    No, I do not think they should be held accountable because they were just kids. Everyone makes bad decisions when they are young. It just so happens the United States has become a bit of a snowflake country where everyone views everything as offensive. It is sad to think people cannot live their lives without being slandered.

    [read less]

    No, I do not think they should be held accountable because they were just kids. Everyone makes bad decisions when they are young. It just so happens t…

    [read more]
    0
  • Logan from Kentucky

    I believe they shouldn’t be held accountable because everyone is young and dumb. There is not one perfect person on this planet and everyone makes mistakes. Yes to an extent if they murdered someone or something extreme they should be held accountable but for something dumb they said when they were kids should they be held accountable.

    [read less]

    I believe they shouldn’t be held accountable because everyone is young and dumb. There is not one perfect person on this planet and everyone makes mis…

    [read more]
    0
  • Brent from Kentucky

    For a candidate to be denied office or any position for a job for their past actions as students, depending on most situations, they should not be denied their chance at office or work. People, especially teenagers and young adults, make moronic and poor choices. However, it is also moronic for an individual in their adulthood to be denied a position based on something they did in their youth. The human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25, therefore people are not completely and fully aware of their actions, who then make impulsive actions that they can not ever take back. People grow up and mature, in one way or another. The Virginia governor should not have his position taken from him, as a result of a picture he was in for his yearbook photo. Yes the photo itself is very bad, but he should not lose his position for something he did when he was a student. It goes for the same for any other individual to lose their office or work for something they did when they were younger. People grow up and become different individuals from who they are when they are younger, and shouldn’t be removed from their office or work for their past mistakes.

    [read less]

    For a candidate to be denied office or any position for a job for their past actions as students, depending on most situations, they should not be den…

    [read more]
    0
  • Zoe from Kentucky

    Candidates and officials should not be held responsible for actions made as student as long as it has happened a long time ago or the candidate has shown signs of changing their behavior. When people are teenagers/young adults, their prefrontal cortexes are not fully developed which means often times they can be poor decision makers. Also the limbic system which is the center of emotions is more active as a teenager which means they could act more on emotions instead of logic. All of this biological evidence suggests that students have a tendency to make mistake and poor decisions. Therefore, someone who made mistakes as a student may have learned from them and grown as a person. The way they acted then, especially if it was 20 or 30 years ago, might be completely different than how they are now. We should not threaten the jobs of officials based off of what they did as students because their biology may have clouded their judgement and does not necessarily reflect how they are now.

    [read less]

    Candidates and officials should not be held responsible for actions made as student as long as it has happened a long time ago or the candidate has sh…

    [read more]
    0
  • Elijah from Kentucky

    I think candidates should not be held accountable for their actions when they were a student. Most of the poor decisions that you make as a student are because you are not yet mature enough to know the true effects. Most students are not thinking about how each and every decision that they make while in school could drastically change their life. Also, by holding candidates accountable, we are giving the opportunity to opposing parties to accuse each other of poor decisions made as a student. There is never any actual proof anyway, so it just turns into a big mess. At the same time, I definitely think they should be held accountable if they broke a serious law or their actions took away the life of another student. To me, only bringing the situation back up just to ruin their chances at a position in office seems kind of irrelevant and unnecessary.

    [read less]

    I think candidates should not be held accountable for their actions when they were a student. Most of the poor decisions that you make as a student ar…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jonathan from Kentucky

    No, Political figures should not be held accountable for their actions in high school. I feel this way because some of the instances that have happened have taken place 40 – 50 years ago. For politicians to still pursue those actions and things that they have said means that their state of mind has not changed at all. This is controversial, especially in psychological terms because everyone has different states of minds at specific times in their lives. From a high school perspective, you have to take into account peer pressure and other environmental factors that could have caused these politicians to say or do the things they did. Overall, high school is supposedly the “Best 4 years of your life” but the actions that are taken should not be considered in a political setting which is several years after an incident. It is just not that important to hold someone accountable for what they did in the past. Also I feel that other competing politicians would just try to use that information to get dirt on the politician they are running against, which is just unfair. This is why politicians should not be held accountable.

    [read less]

    No, Political figures should not be held accountable for their actions in high school. I feel this way because some of the instances that have happene…

    [read more]
    0
  • Ysabel from Kentucky

    I don’t think that candidates for public office should be held accountable for actions they committed when they were students. People have the innate nature of being inclined to commit actions that aren’t always perfect and holding this against them for years to come is unfair. As a student, they went through stages of immaturity and probably made decisions in order to conform to society, but these actions that were made in the past shouldn’t come back to haunt their present since they are different and more mature beings. People should recognize the faults they’ve made in order to become better beings, thus this would allow others to forgive them for their said faults.

    [read less]

    I don’t think that candidates for public office should be held accountable for actions they committed when they were students. People have the innate …

    [read more]
    0
  • Robyn from Kentucky

    Candidates should not face resignation for their past mistakes, because although these mistakes should not be totally overlooked, they should not have to lose their job for something that happened in their youth. Their actions are not justified but all people make mistakes, especially in adolescence, and also the social standards of past eras are very different from current social expectations. Today we would not accept the Governor’s actions as politically correct, but at the time of the picture, most people would not have viewed the photo as very offensive. Moreover, while the candidates should receive some type of penalty, they should not lose their job, because if everyone was scrutinized for a mistake they made in their past, no one would have a job.

    [read less]

    Candidates should not face resignation for their past mistakes, because although these mistakes should not be totally overlooked, they should not have…

    [read more]
    0
  • Tara from Kentucky

    No, the actions that you take and the decisions that you make as a teen are often times found by adults as stupid. What we do as students shouldn’t affect whether or not you are unfit for office. That is unless you are looking up how to make a pipe bomb and are suspected of being a terrorist.

    [read less]

    No, the actions that you take and the decisions that you make as a teen are often times found by adults as stupid. What we do as students shouldn’t af…

    [read more]
    0
  • Natalie from Kentucky

    I don’t believe Governor Northam’s actions should be overlooked, however, they should not be held against him and cause him to lose position. Adolescents’ minds aren’t completely developed while they are still in college, so as Northam continued to mature, his decision making abilities would also mature, meaning he has the ability to make better decisions today. Many people do crazy things, make mistakes, and make decisions they regret when they are in their teens to early 20’s. Just because Northam is in a place of authority now doesn’t change that just like everyone, he was once a guy looking to have a good time with his friends like everyone else. He could have made better decisions at the time, but he can’t change that now and all he can do is move forward and make better decisions in the future.

    [read less]

    I don’t believe Governor Northam’s actions should be overlooked, however, they should not be held against him and cause him to lose position. Adolesc…

    [read more]
    0
  • Sydney from Kentucky

    No, we shouldn’t hold them accountable because if they aren’t held accountable when the actual action does occur then it shouldn’t be as bad a problem now. It also depends on the extent of how bad the problem was. If it was murder than yes they should be held accountable now because they killed someone but if it was something that doesn’t really hurt other people physically then it shouldn’t really be a problem.

    [read less]

    No, we shouldn’t hold them accountable because if they aren’t held accountable when the actual action does occur then it shouldn’t be as bad a problem…

    [read more]
    0
  • Noah from Kentucky

    I believe that these people running for public office should not be judged based off their past decisions. Everyone makes mistakes in their life and a mistake someone made while they were younger should not affect them as they get older running for office. The best way to learn in life in through experience and that is how some people are able to change their life for the better so why punish them for it.

    [read less]

    I believe that these people running for public office should not be judged based off their past decisions. Everyone makes mistakes in their life and a…

    [read more]
    0
  • Madelyn from Kentucky

    It is inevitable that every teenager makes a mistake at least one time in their life. Some may act a certain way that may be offensive to others just to fit in with their peers but will learn from their mistakes after. I do not believe that mistakes made in high school or college should ruin one’s reputation in their career. People mature with age and experience so therefore I believe candidates for public office should only be judged on what they stand for during present day and how they will affect the future of our nation, regardless on minor mistakes made many years ago.

    [read less]

    It is inevitable that every teenager makes a mistake at least one time in their life. Some may act a certain way that may be offensive to others just …

    [read more]
    0
  • Audrey from Kentucky

    No, because students are often ignorant of the consequences of their actions and lack a complete understanding of their actions. Everyone makes mistakes in their lives and if we constantly dwelt over every mistake someone made then everyone would be unfit to govern. Unless an issue is severe, then people should not be punished for their past actions.

    [read less]

    No, because students are often ignorant of the consequences of their actions and lack a complete understanding of their actions. Everyone makes mistak…

    [read more]
    0
  • William David from Kentucky

    I do not believe that people should be held accountable for actions that were performed more than 7 years ago. Anything less than 7 years is fair game but more than that you are truly a different person.

    [read less]

    I do not believe that people should be held accountable for actions that were performed more than 7 years ago. Anything less than 7 years is fair game…

    [read more]
    0
  • Mamadou from Connecticut

    As a student and as a public leader is to completely different things. The only way to learn is through experience, good or bad.

    0
  • Katherine from Minnesota

    I believe that you do not have many life experiences as a teen and as you get older, you encounter more people and situations different from yourself which can invoke empathy in you once you get to office.

    [read less]

    I believe that you do not have many life experiences as a teen and as you get older, you encounter more people and situations different from yourself …

    [read more]
    0
  • Matthew from New Jersey

    The actions one was involved in as an adolescent should not dictate whether or not they are currently fit for office. An opinion on either side may seem controversial, as some people fully believe past actions indicate current ability and demeanor while others believe that anyone is capable of change, rehabilitation, and maturation. While both sides may be correct to some degree, the actions of one’s past should not be the reason that he or she is deemed unfit for office. Questionable or obscene past actions could be an impetus for further investigation into one’s current mindset and attitude. For instance, the governor of Virginia’s choice to wear blackface as a student warrants inquiry as to whether or not he currently holds racist viewpoints or has recently acted in an insensitive manner towards people of color. Of course, unaddressed criminal conduct from one’s past, such as accusations of sexual misconduct or harassment, would require greater attention in a court of law. However, in general, people are in fact capable of maturing and changing their behavior as well as their mindset, and the actions of an elected official’s adolescence should not be the crux of their criticisms.

    [read less]

    The actions one was involved in as an adolescent should not dictate whether or not they are currently fit for office. An opinion on either side may se…

    [read more]
    0
  • Corona from Florida

    When people are young, they make ignorant mistakes without thinking about the future consequences. This is basic human nature.

    0
  • Janita from Georgia

    The human mind doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. We should not be held fully accountable for our actions until our mind is fully developed . Yes, we know what we do , but do we really? As students , we tend to make more careless mistakes than we would as an adult. Our actions made when we were younger should not determine our future.

    [read less]

    The human mind doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. We should not be held fully accountable for our actions until our mind is fully developed …

    [read more]
    0
  • Summer from Oklahoma

    The pasts of elected officials should be held in regard of criminal circumstance, and the relevance of these events. For example, something that occurred 20 years prior to the election year, and was something such as destruction of property, although it is illegal and wrong, it should not alter the decision of office election of the candidate. Also, if an action is repeated or is relevant to the way a candidate conducts themselves, this should then be considered when put in the public’s eye.

    [read less]

    The pasts of elected officials should be held in regard of criminal circumstance, and the relevance of these events. For example, something that occur…

    [read more]
    0
  • JaQualia from Texas

    People can be impulsive and pressured when they are younger. Some maybe even easily persuaded. If they have been on the straight and narrow in the meantime. Some people who have a clean record could be bad but have never got caught. I just think we should give people a chance when they have made a mistake.

    [read less]

    People can be impulsive and pressured when they are younger. Some maybe even easily persuaded. If they have been on the straight and narrow in the mea…

    [read more]
    0
  • Kaleb from Illinois

    Here’s the thing. The official may or may not have changed. Chances are, they have matured since going through education. One must look at more recent behavior and actions to decide whether they are to be trusted in the given position.

    [read less]

    Here’s the thing. The official may or may not have changed. Chances are, they have matured since going through education. One must look at more recent…

    [read more]
    0
  • Jeremy from Pennsylvania

    Denying a person a job for past actions as a student is unjustifiable in most situations. People make mistakes all the time, some more severe then others, but as long as people admit them and grow from them, it can be forgiven. Not forgiving people for what they have done will not only hurt the person, but also the organization hiring since most occupations require a certain amount of experience in the modern day. Even though blackface is a sensitive subject and is not right by any means, the candidate clearly shows remorse for his actions, he was young and inexperienced. Growing up is a long and complicated process, there are a lot of bumps along the way, but thought bump only make you stronger if you cross them, and have help alone the way.

    [read less]

    Denying a person a job for past actions as a student is unjustifiable in most situations. People make mistakes all the time, some more severe then oth…

    [read more]
    0