Public title should not dictate opinions

Sophia Comas, Sports Editor

Public image in a world where almost nothing else seems to matter is a driving force for the way society as a whole perceives people. Every aspect of a public figure or official’s life is plopped under a microscope for common folk to pick apart and criticize, and yet people still continue to put themselves into positions where they are put on the receiving end of the utmost scrutiny.

In cases such as recently deceased former president George H. W. Bush, many people have already taken stances on his overall goodness of character based on certain policies that were enforced within the duration of his one term.

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that while these two opposing views of Bush are fighting for dominance, public image should not be the sole factor in the overall judgement of a person’s character. For example, “Queer Eye” grooming specialist Jonathan Van Ness took to Twitter to criticize Bush, saying, “People died of HIV/AIDS when George HW Bush left office. His inaction allowed the virus to spread, stigma to grow, and so many vulnerable people in the cold. He served our country yes, but his hand guided so many towards HIV & stigma that still lasts today.”

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have voiced similar concerns as to how Bush should be remembered by the people of the United States, claiming that Bush failed to do his duty to all Americans by remaining inactive towards the AIDS crisis.

In contrast, other people have chosen to regard Bush in a much different light, taking other parts of his presidency into consideration.

For example, in July of 1990, Bush signed into law one of the most significant and comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination towards people with disabilities. Bush’s work with the Americans with Disabilities Act became a memorable part of his legacy.

He was an influential role model for his son, George W. Bush, who followed in his father’s political footsteps when he became the 43rd president of the United States. In the younger Bush’s eulogy for his father, he said, “Dad taught us that public service is noble and necessary; that one can serve with integrity and hold true to the important values, like faith and family. He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light.”

Under the lense of history, people are glorified or villainized quite easily. However, instead of categorizing people based on affiliation or political differences, judgements should be made solely on facts. Given the state of the country’s current politics, perception becomes clouded by personal opinion and political views, and while everyone has a right to their own opinions, those opinions should be built from a foundation of trustworthy information that stands alone from personal assessment.

Additionally, when people are creating their own opinions about public figures or officials, they must also understand that anyone within the realm of public eye is a person too. No one is perfect, especially in the political sense, and there will those who disagree with the people in office. Citizens should keep in mind that perfection is an unrealistic standard to hold others to and part of being human is making decisions that people won’t always appreciate.

Public title and public image should play no role in how a person is regarded by the common citizen and rather than use their platforms as an accurate measure of a person’s standard, people must focus on factual information for building opinions in regards to the basic respects of humanity.