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.