Samara O'Shea

Question #14

Damn! It looks like I can’t apply for a position in the Obama cabinet after all. Let’s ignore for a moment that I am not qualified to do such a thing. Let’s imagine I’m a little older and have a hearty political resume, here’s what would stop me in my tracks: Question # 14 on the seven-page questionnaire being distributed by the office of the President-elect.

(14) Diaries: If you keep or have ever kept a diary that contains anything that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-elect if it were made public, please describe.

Why yes I have! And it’s already been published so there’s no hiding it now.

According to the New York Times, “The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.”

Wow! I applied for a job a week or so ago and I got upset when they asked me if I was a smoker. I am not a smoker, but I still don’t think that’s any of their business.

I understand the Obama administration is learning from the mistakes of past presidents by asking these invasive questions, but if they’re looking for perfect people they’re never going to find them. We’ve all fallen short of the glory. Even Obama himself has come clean about experimenting with cocaine as a young man.

I actually don’t blame the elected-administration for this as much as I blame the media. We live in a world where everything is fair game. There once was a time when a president could have an affair—think FDR and JFK—and the press would turn a blind eye out respect for the office of the president. Although being unfaithful to a spouse is nothing to be proud of, I don’t think it affects the president’s ability to govern and therefore it’s not the business of the people. It all changed with Nixon. What Nixon was doing was absolutely the business of the people, and the press called him on it. Shortly there after the press started calling every president on wayward decision and, as a result, we had to sit through Blow Job 101 during the Clinton era.

So yes, the president-elect has every right to ask about all the professional mishaps of his potential employees. Yet he’s asking about the personal calamities, too, because he’s been given no choice.

Read the NY Times article here.