Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Elizabeth Warren

Who knows whether it is really a sign of the times or not, but last night I was watching Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the TV and briefly wished she would run for president.

I didn't wish it with some knee-jerk feminist ardor, though I think it might be nice to have a female president. Elizabeth Warren struck me as a person of substance, someone capable of thought that might back up whatever decisiveness she chose. She did not strike me as someone who would make statements purely to raise her own stock. Of course, I could be wrong, but this is how she struck me... a kind of Mary Poppins whose strictness was based in substance and yet was capable of laughter.

But as quickly as I thought Warren should run for president, the question rose up unbidden: "Why would a wish such a thing on any person I considered admirable?" I don't like to wish ill on my friends and Elizabeth Warren struck me as a person worth being friends with... quality goods.

Once the presidency was a place of honor in my mind, a place where men (and possibly future women) might stumble and fail but at least did what they could to represent and improve the lot of the nation as a whole.

Was I naive then and jaded now? I don't know. But I do know that I don't now wish the presidency on anyone of character and substance. Is this the sort of surrender I wish to make? I don't know, but I seem to have made it ... you can only wrestle with merchandizers and blowhards for so long.

Wikipedia quotes Warren as responding to the criticism that taxing the rich amounts to class warfare:
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. ... You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.

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