The first in my memory

Barack’s election is a big deal. Something I had meant to post before tonight, but hadn’t gotten around to, was a realization I had about the 4 candidates for the two highest offices. For the first time in memory, all four candidates were folks who came from no privilege, no family assumptions as to the status they’d achieve. Each are self-made, and I felt that that simple fact was pretty substantial.

9 thoughts on “The first in my memory

  1. McCain is the son of 2 previous generations of naval admirals? What do you mean? His acceptance to Annapolis and his making it into the naval pilots were both HUGELY due to privilege. Then there is his marrying into money.

    But the other 3 you are correct about.

    — dave

  2. David is absolutely correct with respect to John McCain’s past (Navy Admirals and Beer Distributor money), but I would not be so quick as to say that John McCain was not a “self made” man, he had options in life and chose a path that was most definitely not the one of least resistance.

  3. Hard choices don’t erase the fact of privilege. A dynasty of Navy Admirals is a huge privilege for a career in the military/politics and comes with a lot of assumptions about where you will go and what you will achieve. It’s clear that his privilege doesn’t define him — privilege played no part in his survival as a POW. He has character. But he had a huge leg up from the beginning. And marrying rich didn’t hurt. :)

  4. Samantha Bailey

    It’s not really accurate to say that privilege played to part in his survival as a POW; he received medical attention that probably saved his life after the North Koreans learned they had what they referred to as a “prince” in captivity.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain

  5. I was not aware of the degree of privilege bestowed Navy admirals. I knew of them in his lineage, but I also know the military tends to very much be a meritocracy. And even so, that kind of privilege is very different from the silver spoon in both Bush’s mouths, or the family dynasty of Gore or Kennedy.

  6. I think, unfortunately, that your perceptions about entitlement in military “dynasties” are a little bit ahead of the realities. Hopefully, McCain is one of the last candidate from the military about whom we’ll have this debate. He was classy in his concession. It was like some kind of spell was broken…

  7. Privilege shmivilege, a non issue no matter how you define it. As always it was the jackasses versus the pachyderms. Us against them. Without a third and other viable political parties with coalition potential, American elections are a zero-sum game with democracy the loser.

  8. From the Arlington National Cemetery Website:

    “John Sidney McCain, Sr. (August 9, 1884–September 6, 1945) was an Admiral in the United States Navy, notable as a commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force in World War II. His son John S. McCain, Jr. was also an admiral (the only father-son pair of full admirals in US history), and his grandson John McCain III, also a naval officer, (retired Navy Captain), is a U.S. Senator from Arizona. All three attended the United States Naval Academy, which his great-grandson, John S. (Jack) McCain IV, is currently attending.”

  9. It’s fairly accepted that McCain’s career in the military might have ended with his FIRST crash landing, if not his second… long before he was shot down over Vietnam and became a hero. It was privilege that kept him flying, and – ironically – privilege that sent him to the toughest prison on earth. But it was immense privilege, nonetheless.