Reporter's Note: I did not see President Obama building a snow man this week. Which is a shame, because everyone should enjoy a good snowstorm. Just like, I assume, he enjoys my daily letters to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
I’ve been reading a good number of articles about how Rep. Patrick Kennedy from Rhode Island is not going to run for re-election. And of course everyone is commenting on how this means for the first time in…well, pretty much forever, there will not be a Kennedy holding an elected seat in the federal government.
You’ve got to admire the dedication of any family that invests so much time and energy into public service, whether you agree with their politics or not. I know that the late Ted Kennedy was a friend and mentor of yours, so I can imagine that this news fills you with a certain wistfulness.
But with respect, I must say I am usually…if not happy…at least content to see political dynasties come to an end. I don’t think it is healthy for an individual family to hold too much sway in a democracy, whether that family’s name is Kennedy, Bush, Clinton, or whatever.
I’ve always figured our country was founded in part on the idea that political power was something to be passed around the shared by the people. We saw wisdom in the idea that different families, with different views would arise in different times to shape the nature of our nation. After all, if we wanted royalty, we could have stuck with the Brits. So when people talk about another Bush running, or Chelsea Clinton getting involved, I am usually puzzled as to why they would even want such a thing to happen.
There are now more than 300-million Americans. What are the odds that any one family is so blessed with the genius of leadership or governmental wisdom that it should trump all others to hold positions of power? Sure, experience counts; and families have a way of sharing what they know. That’s why the guy who runs the auto repair shop that his dad used to own is so good at it.
But when it comes to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, I think it’s just a good idea to tap as deeply as you can into the broad talents of all those people…not just a few. And there is this: Many voters already think the DC crowd is too disconnected from average people; too insulated by an “inside the beltway” mentality that frankly “does not get” the regular concerns of regular folks. Pulling more candidates with long political pedigrees, I suspect, will just make that problem worse.
So again, while I salute the dedication of families who, generation after generation, seek to serve; I suspect we may serve our nation better by striving more diligently to welcome new thoughts, new ideas, and new input into the process.
Hope this wasn’t too heavy for a Saturday, and hope your weekend is going well. We had hoped to take our family down to Mardi Gras, but the storms screwed up everything so royally we had to give it a pass. But maybe I’ll whip up some shrimp po-boys and etoufee. Give me a call if you want to come over for some.
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