Sunday, October 7, 2007

American Monarchy?

Like many students studying political science, I recognize that not just anyone becomes president.

Strong advocates of the American Dream might argue that if someone works hard enough and has even god-given talent, he or she can head the Executive. It's true: someone might have amazing speaking skills, a natural knack for diplomacy and an innovative plan for the United States, and you would think there is nothing that should hold back that person. Too bad that's not the case.

I don't mean to sound bitter, but there is a harsh reality is can't really be ignored. Money, education and family background heavily contribute to a politician's success(or anyone else's success in life for that matter).

In the U.K., its Oxford and Cambridge that condition England's finest for Parliament. In the U.S., its a degree, or 2, from the Ivy League variety.

Family-- family with money ideally-- also matters a lot.

Many recognize that these factors can improve one's chances of success, but that individual talent and dedication is the end-all, be-all.

Slap-in-the-face #1: George W. Bush.

Born to the 41st President of the United States, W earned a bachelor's degree from Yale and a Master's from Harvard. Seriously?

I almost feel like people see his diplomas and assume he's intelligent. If his intelligence was judged solely on action and grammar, you'd think he hadn't even graduated high school. It's a perfect example of how the "track" helps you become president, even if you're not the most qualified in reality.

Family in politics is an interesting element too.

Time recently had an article about Argentina's First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her prospective plans to run for president next term. Her husband Nestor Kirchner currently sit as President, but maybe not run for re-election next term so his Senator wife can have a stab at the spot.

Apparently the couple plans to continue the he-run-then-she-runs alternation, avoiding the constitutional ban of holding office for more than 2 consecutive terms and still holding power within the party.

Fernandez de Kirchner noted in the interview with the author Tim Padgett that, "If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency next year, the [US] will be ruled by two families for a quarter-century."

I had never thought of that before. And for the first time I started to really look at U.S. Politics in terms of families, almost like monarchies.

Good luck aspiring presidents. I hope you can break the cycle before another Bush gets into office..

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