The election is almost here. Although this election season has seemed to drag out forever, the big day is going to be history soon. The psychology of this history lesson will hopefully go beyond one party versus another. The biggest lesson left to learn we can learn from this drawn out process is the importance of honesty.
Politicians view mistakes as a weakness. They are most commonly mistaken in their belief that Americans also view them the same as politicians view themselves. History proves otherwise, however. President Clinton’s approval ratings remained high when he finally admitted to the Lewinsky scandal. So why do politicians insist on dancing around their mistakes?
It is difficult in these politically polarized times to admit to your mistakes because both sides spend so much time blaming. Blaming alone may serve as a diversion tactic, and both parties utilize this same artillery, but rather ineffectively. A number of polls show that people have grown tired of politics and the inability of politicians getting things done. Their conflict with each other and difficulties to take responsibility for their past decisions are largely to blame for this.
There is something that is counter-intuitive about pointing out your own mistakes. However being counter-intuitive does not mean that it is bad. Taking a chance often pays off for all people. However, if politicians should take anything from the staying power of long-lasting celebrities, it is that the public is willing to forgive. Major celebrities who have been surrounded in controversy for something that they said, often end up respected when they apologize and sound sincere. For those who don’t come across as genuine, people usually see through this, and are less likely to forgive. Is there anyone who should be seeking out public respect more than politicians?
Furthermore, defensiveness shows more insecurity than strength. Irritation and agitation display a lack of ability to recognize mistakes, and even more importantly, learn from them. Blaming your opponent just comes across as desperate. However, showing that you recognize that you made a mistake shows that you are ready to change. And change, no matter which political party brings it to us, is what we need right now.