A Day of Civic Duty

Today I both voted and, shortly thereafter, donated blood to the Red Cross. Tonight we'll have the exciting tabulation of the winners and losers, and see how the general election will shape up.

I went with Todd Robinson over Michelle Nunn not out of any strong sense that she was a bad candidate, but just for the reason most people will vote for her: her father was Sam Nunn, a man I greatly respect. On reflection, though her career in charitable organizations is worthy of respect, the real reason she's the out-front favorite is just because she comes from a famous family and has a famous name. Robinson has earned the respect he has all by himself, as for example when he served with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

In a way that's unfair to Ms. Nunn, who isn't at fault for having famous parents, nor for coming of age at the same time that Jimmy Carter's grandson is going to be a candidate for governor, or at the same time that we've recently had two Bushes and two Clintons as serious contenders for President (and a third Bush on the way, according to reports). Of course we have had the Kennedys for years, and of course every President we've ever had has been kin to George Washington.

Nevertheless, I believe that if there is a natural aristocracy, it must be an aristocracy not of blood but of virtue. We should look for the ones who have earned it. I have no doubt that Mr. Robinson will say, at his victory or his concession speech, that he owes everything to his family. In a way he will be right, but not in the same way. Doubtless he owes them a great deal, but not a direct ascension to the top of the ticket; doubtless he couldn't have done it without them, but it was him all alone there in the mud and the night.

UPDATE: With 2% of results in, NBC already feels safe calling it for Michelle Nunn.

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