On a regular basis, U.S. citizens are subjected to the foundations of what our nation stands for. We are a nation of risk-taking entrepreneurs and ambitious dream-chasers.When the gaping mouth of immigration first opened, long before the concept of pursuing the American Dream ever existed, moving to the United States was risky business. Individuals who committed to traveling the great divide between their homelands and the new world, even if out of a desperately conceived plight to escape the fray of a suppressive government, still risked losing everything in this wild and unsettled territory. While the unwilling were left at home, the cutting edge forged within our American bloodline a culture of discipline, innovation, and global ascension.
But while many people still have the gusto to dream and pursue, America has taken an unfortunate turn in its ability to give back. There is one particular area in American society that no longer sufficiently abides by the principles of living the dream.
Since the spawning of the executive branch, the U.S. presidency and, increasingly, politics as a whole, has taken a terrible plummet into inequality and hypocrisy. In a nation now ruled by money and a highly biased and sensitive media, our politicians are now ultimately inbred.
The most recent three presidential elections give enough evidence to support this claim.
Bill Clinton, an anti-Vietnam activist, attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship and emigrate to avoid the draft during his education at Yale Law School, according to a Consortium News article. Yet despite locking antlers with the United States, Clinton became the 42nd president.
Even beyond his presidency, Clinton has set the stage for at least another generation of political Clintons. His wife, who is, by no coincidence, a New York senator, is now thought of as the iconic hope that there will soon be a female president to millions of Americans. Unfortunately, the former first lady’s ambitions of success doesn’t spring from the humility and reverence that American icon Benjamin Franklin’s did more than two centuries earlier, but instead from the paths that President Clinton already paved.
The same phenomenon is true to the far left, as it is no coincidence that three members of the Bush family have served the United States. The impacts on public policy left by the Clintons, Bushes and Kennedys will slowly stagnate – though not nearly quickly enough. But America, through twists in the media, is now captivated by the idea of celebrity-esque presidents and politicians. Like the popularity of Hollywood families such as Owen and Luke Wilson or Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, political families will likely become increasingly dominant.
The U.S. presidency is arguably a career that can no longer be touched by a lower-class family. Interestingly enough, the increasing elitism and exclusivity of politics is reflective of empires dominated by familial bloodlines. While the United States is still a democracy, political elitism is the closest to royalty that America has ever been since the Constitution’s ratification.
So, while America still thrives under the principles of risk, triumph and gusto, the American presidency, as well as politics as a whole, is falling victim to not allowing the self-educated, self-built man to ever ascend the stairwells of government. Politics are now reserved for the rich and the famous – just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Matt Buongiorno is a freshman political science major from Arlington.