Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oscar Handlin, Dead; "Anyone Can Be President"

I got thrown out of my high school "Problems of Democracy" class for challenging the teacher when he said that anyone could become President. (I guffawed at the statement.)

Oscar Handlin, the eminent scholar of immigration to the United States, died recently. In the late 1970s he gave a talk to some group at Harvard Law School -- the Law & Humanities Fellows, I believe -- and he said that in America anyone could become President of the United States. I challenged that statement.

I admit it: I was a snotty kid.

But I wasn't wrong to challenge the statements of these two very different eminences was I? (It must be said, however: Oscar Handlin -- unlike my P.O.D. teacher -- was a genuinely warm and courteous person.)

It should be noted that in the U.S.S.R., as it was then, which I despised, anyone could become General Secretary of the Communist Party. It was theoretically possible for that to happen, was it not?

N.B. Henry Kissinger would have faced some special difficulties had he campaigned to be POTUS yes?  I was born in Riga, Latvia, of parents who were not U.S.citizens. So my campaign for the Presidency foundered early, at birth actually.

P.S. My erstwhile high school P.O.D. teacher peddled moral rearmament He did that in the classroom, in a public high school. The days, they were a different then, at least in Columbus, Ohio.

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