The term Standard of Care has legal meaning in our society; we typically consider it in a medical context, but the term also applies more broadly. It refers to the duty of care that we have for one another and in a legal sense, the failure to meet this Standard of Care can be considered negligence.

Our society is complex with many interwoven and intricate strands of interests and responsibilities. People’s lives and wellbeing depend on each other to meet their shared responsibilities so that collectively, as a society, we can maintain life, liberty and engage in the pursuit of happiness as the echo of our forefathers still reminds us.

The present state of our political process is dysfunctional. We have just witnessed the passage of a Senate bill on tax reform that has implications across the largest economy on earth, without debate, thoughtful consideration, and public involvement. It is likely, given the scope and haste of the bill’s development that few in the legislative body have read the bill in its entirety and fully considered the impacts on the lives of all of their constituents. As this unfolded, I was struck by the question “What is the Standard of Care for a politician?”

Professional standards exist for doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, engineers, surveyors, and yes, even hairdressers, but what professional standards exist for politicians? Is it acceptable for a civilized society such as ours for politicians to go to extreme measures to shield a bill from public view? The work of all professionals in our society must withstand public scrutiny, so it should be for politicians who, after all, are doing the people’s work.

by Kevin Deeny