Painful Truth: Beware of political dynasties

There’s no question that, were I an American, I’d be voting for Hillary Clinton this November. Mostly because I’d desperately want to vote against Donald Trump.

Clinton wouldn’t be my first choice for president, nor my third or fourth or fifth, either. But she seems like she’s pretty unlikely to start a global thermonuclear war, which is my top priority.

The thing that bothers me more than anything else about her isn’t any of her policies, or her personality. It’s her last name.

In my lifetime, there have been two presidents named Bush, and we’ve already had a Clinton. Closer to home, when I was born the prime minister was a Trudeau, and a Trudeau resides in 24 Sussex Drive again.

Dynasties scare me, both for the practical effects, and for what they say about our society.

In purely practical terms, when a child or spouse takes power again, we’re getting a known quantity. It’s like seeing the sequel to last year’s blockbuster movie.

You liked Bill Clinton Plays the Sax? How about this year you check out Hillary Clinton and the Magical White Pantsuit?

That’s also the downside. Clinton was practically anointed by the Democratic establishment, but she had to fight a hard battle against Bernie Sanders. Sanders, codger that he is, represents much of the next generation of Democrats. Clinton was seen by many as simply being out of step with the future of the party.

Here at home, Justin Trudeau played with that notion. Pierre Trudeau oversaw vast social changes and reforms in his tenure, particularly in the 1960s and ’70s. Trudeau the Younger came in promising a new wave of change, and after nine years of stodgy Conservative governance, the promise of change was as important as the specifics of the change itself.

The institutional danger of political dynasties is much worse than the fact that they often represent a continuation of policies.

When one family repeatedly holds political office, it tells us that power is too concentrated. It lets us know that a small group of people has too much influence.

It says to those who grew up outside of the corridors of power, that they have less chance of ever making their voices heard.

It says that those without famous names are lesser.

 

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