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The Next Senator Present

December 22, 2008

So sweet Caroline Kennedy wants to be a Senator.  Who knew?  She was going along so nicely, living as normal a life as a Kennedy can live (poor dear).  Now all of a sudden — what, did she somehow get possessed by a political demon?  Sure looks something like that.

She thinks she’s qualified to be a Senator because

  • she’s a Kennedy, to the manor born,
  • she’s a lawyer, and
  • she really really really cares about public education. 

As to the lawyer qualification — it’s the entrenched lawyers, exercising their myriad conflicts of interest, that have made our government into the quagmire that it is today.  Just take a casual look at the tax code and tell me with a straight face that a lawyer could make it all better.  When was the last time you did your own income tax return — I betcha you haven’t done it yourself for ages — because you’re afraid the lawyers will getcha (and get more of your money) if you make a mistake in the unholy morass they have wrought.  So instead of normal people with high school diplomas calculating their own taxes (as it should be), we have instead a priestly caste of “tax preparers” who make their living as leeches on the fearful — taking our money to perform arithmetical calculations for us and providing us with a layer of protection from the lawyers in Washington.   Clearly, lawyers are the last people we need to be in power over the rest of us.

Now, being a lawyer doesn’t automatically make a person evil.  I have an uncle who is a lawyer and has been a county prosecuting attorney off and on for decades.  He might well make a decent Senator.  Then I have another relative who is a lawyer, and boy howdy, what a nightmare that person would be in any position of appreciable power.  Like anything involving humans, it varies according to the person.

It’s not that being a lawyer causes an ontological degradation in a person.  It’s that lawyers are taught to think as lawyers — that’s what law school is all about; it has nothing to do with the law, really.  Lawyers use a different sort of logic than Natural Law and Common Sense.  It’s an artificial way of thinking that seems reasonable, systematic, logical on the surface.  But go deeper and you find that it is twisted, if not exactly evil.  It produces a mindset of “legal equals right and good” and “illegal equals bad and wrong.”  Which is entirely false.  Yet that is the mindset that our government is organized around. 

I think you can probably see that I think being a lawyer ought to DISqualify anyone from serving in the Senate or House.  Well, perhaps that’s a bit harsh.  OK, lawyers should have short term limits — say one term.  Non-lawyers should have term limits, too, but that’s a subject for an entirely different post. 

So Caroline’s assertion that being a lawyer is a qualification for her to be APPOINTED to the Senate is bunk.

As to her birth and upbringing — this is America, not the Old World.  We don’t have royalty here.  And real Americans don’t want royalty here.  It’s unAmerican — it’s European or Middle Eastern; it’s not US.  The idea that being born into a prominent family, a family “involved in government”, is a qualifier for being appointed as a representative of the little people, should make all red-blooded Americans scream and point with outstretched arms in contempt and loathing.  We are not Europe, thanks be to God.  We are not the Middle East, thanks be to God.  There have been more than enough Kennedys in the mix already.  Let’s have an end to that.  Caroline should gracefully bow out.  That would be the most royal action she could take.

And let’s have an end to dynasties in other families, too.  No more Clintons, no more Bushes (not even Jeb, who might make a good ‘un).  You get the picture.  If not outright bans, then shorter term limits for scions than for people who earn it in their own right. 

And she really does care about public education, in an Ivy-educated elitist sort of way.  She has served on numerous boards and suchlike.  But that’s not enough to convince me of her care and concern.  To me, someone who really really really cares about something is one who is willing to go into the trenches and start shoveling the muck herself — like f’r’instance Michelle Rhee.  Now there’s a woman who really cares about public education.   Or how about Jenna Bush, who is a real-life schoolteacher at a Washington DC public school?  Caroline is deluding herself.

What we need in government is more people who have lived the normal American lives that all of us little people live.  People who know that almost every law hurts someone — and who can relate, at least partially, to those someones.  People who enter and achieve in the realm of government because they have good ideas and can influence others cooperatively, rather than people who are assumed to be qualified because they attended a certain school or were born in a certain family.  People who enter and remain in government through winning free and fair elections, rather than being appointed to reserved seats.  Not attending an Ivy should shouldn’t be a disqualifier.  Beginning one’s political career as a mayor, rather than as as a congressman, shouldn’t be a disqualifier.  Working one’s way up through the political layers, rather than being appointed at the next-to-the-top layer, shouldn’t be a disqualifier.  In short, what we need in government are fewer east coast dynastic scions and more Sarah Palins.

Are you wondering yet about my title for this post?  Well, here’s the kicker.  This lovely lawyer scion of our nation’s royal family is so very interested and engaged in the political process that she votes in elections — sometimes.  And she thinks she should be appointed to high office — well, clearly, since elections are not really that important to her, it does make a certain twisted kind of sense.  To a lawyer, maybe.

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