“A generation plants trees; another takes the shadow. "
Let's take a last look overseas, not at the nineteenth-century fortunes of the various Rockefellers or J. P. Morgan, nor at those of the Getty or the current financial geniuses or Silicon Valley, with their relative strategies for family succession, past and present. The reflection is almost banal: "America" was proudly born in 1776 as a democratic republic - the first of the modern era! - against the rites and hierarchies of the old English dominion, sending King George back home and the very idea of hereditary monarchy. Yet ... Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, a few years apart from each other, two distant cousins became President, Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, both descendants of a seventeenth-century Dutch noble settler from New Amsterdam, whose landholdings included at that time, coincidentally, the whole of Manhattan today. But at least they were one Republican and the other Democrat ... The latent dynastic nostalgia of the Americans has found its first and unforgettable landing with the Kennedy saga and its tragic descent, from the bloody glory of John and Bob to the eternal Ted's failed promise, passing through the perfect Jackie elegantly ferried from the White House to the Onassis yachts, despite Dallas. Obligatory careers, automatic vocations, virtually hereditary political seats (even if the designated heir is reluctant or not particularly gifted) ...All elements exactly conform to the old and hated noble model. Instead, the transition from the Merovingians to the Franks recalls the irresistible rise of George HW Bush (the father) who, from the top of the CIA, was elevated in 1981 to become vice president with Reagan, then to conquer the White House in 1989, but for only one mandate. Beaten by Clinton, he will be avenged by his son, George W. Bush who, eight years later, will bring the family back to the helm of the United States, while his other brother, Jeb, was Governor of Florida. A curious case since the father had already expressed on several occasions some doubts about the real gifts of the children. Yet the mechanism of US politics has led the Bushes to be the first case of father and son both presidents. And if Bush son succeeded, Bill Clinton's wife could do it too, Hillary Rodham Clinton who, after eight years of suffering alongside her husband, had followed a career of all importance: Senator for the state of New York, already Secretary of State with Obama from 2009 to 2013, she had been nominated for the White House for the Democratic Party in 2016. It would have been the first case of a "relay race" between spouses, but the voters rewarded Donald Trump. In this case it seemed the smoothest and most controlled transition ... instead reality presented a totally unexpected account, even for most observers. In practice, the US experience is showing that the boundary between democracy and hereditary monarchy is much less marked than what the "founding fathers" thought or, at least, that we are experiencing a phase of profound redefinition of the mechanisms of democratic transition. Not to mention the lesson that every time the voters, with their sometimes unpredictable choices, also impart to the gurus and spin doctors victorious of dozens of electoral campaigns. Reality is always right, even when history, perhaps decades later, proves it wrong.
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