Sunday, October 19, 2008

For the people, by some of the people ...

The one thing that we don't seem to hear a great deal about on this side of the pond is the policies of the presidential candidates. The election seems to have almost become Obama vs Palin and whether the U.S wants someone who's black in a position of power or someone who's a woman.

Well, I'm not an American, so I have no vote and my voice counts for nothing. I don't even know the issues at stake. However, I recently heard someone say that they couldn't vote for "a rootin' tootin' hockey mom". Why not? Surely a government by the people, for the people should have all walks of life in charge or is a Yale or Harvard degree becoming mandatory for office these days?

By pure coincidence, I read in the FT how Andrew Lahde, founder of California’s Lahde Capital, rounded on the US “aristocracy” who were able to pay for their children to go to Yale and then a Harvard MBA. He apparently said that “these people who were truly not worthy of the education they received rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government.'

This all reminded me of when I first visited San Francisco. I was staggered by how segregated the community was between poor and rich. The divide was sharp and crystal clear. A 15 second crossing separated the "American dream" from the "American nightmare". It certainly gave meaning to the old phrase of "from the wrong side of the tracks."

I wish I could go back and ask the person I heard saying they wouldn't vote for a "a rootin' tootin' hockey mom" whether they had the cash to pay for their children to go to Yale and Harvard?

For the people, by the people ... be careful not to lose this ideal and never dismiss someone just because they have a fairly ordinary background.


Anonymous said...

He is so right. Most of these people are getting in to power because of there parents. We need to get the power back to the people. Get some responsibility back into government. Not insiders like the ones in power right now.

swardley said...

There is an issue with a lack of social mobility, which has become acute especially in the U.K.

Unfortunately we've not been moving towards a meritocracy but away from it. From the point of stability (the first role of government) this is not generally a good thing and creates tension.

Anonymous said...

> I recently heard someone say that they couldn't vote for "a rootin' tootin' hockey mom".

I don't think there is class bias in this statement. I think they were talking about how confident and boastful Palin was, even on things she knew nothing about. (To me, rootin' tootin' brings up images of the Wild West and self-reliance.)

For example, Panin touted her "Foreign Policy Experience", but was unable point to anything specific (other than pointing out that Alaska being near Russia).

It's one thing to think you are rough and tumble and ready for anything. It's another to actually be rough and tumble and ready for anything.

Rather than a class comment, I take it as an "out of her element" comment. Palin talked like she was ready to be president, but it was obvious she wasn't. We've had many state governors become president, but Alaska is one of the smallest states in terms of population, and one of the strangest because everyone get Welfare checks from the Oil company.