Who do you think will win the election?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Does Where You Come From Amount to Where You're Going?

Hey World,
I trust the media-savvy readers of my blog to already know that political candidates, especially presidential candidates, are attention-seekers. I mean, they have to be to get anywhere in politics, but in the case of John McCain, this is truly ridiculous. The UK's The Guardian reports that the publishers for McCain's new book are claiming that he is a descendant of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce.

Here we go. This obviously is a ploy from McCain's supporters as a reason for people to vote for the Republican Senator in November. The reasoning is: McCain should be our next president. Why? Well, it's because he is a descendant of Scottish royalty, duh! The Guardian says that it has asked genealogists and medieval historians if this is true, and they say that it's basically "baloney."

Oh and get this. According to a 1999 family memoir, McCain is not only a descendent of Robert the Bruce but also the Emperor Charlemagne. I mean, how random! The people interviewed in the article say that there needs to be a record of documentation that McCain is related to these people, but it is usually "impossible" to find proof of ancestry of those who had lived during the Middle Ages. Some say that Scottish people of Irish descent often claim to be descendents of Robert the Bruce. Basically, the claims McCain's supporters are making are hogwash.

But, as we media-savvy people know, there is a deeper meaning to the story. The point is that it doesn't matter whether or not McCain is really related to these people. What counts is the idea that McCain could be related to kings and emperors. The idea of it justifies, at least in the opinion of his supporters, why McCain should be president. If Robert the Bruce fought the English for the Scots to gain independence, then it only makes sense for McCain, a military hero, to be related to someone like this, or at least that is what his supporters want people to think.

Even if McCain had been related to these people, then who cares? It doesn't make him destined to be president of the United States. I have to admit, though, it is a funny story, but as one historian in the article says: "It's a piece of wonderful fiction."


Mike Plugh said...

It's interesting that the mass media would pick up a story like that, but not all that surprising. In fact, if you trace your own genealogy back far enough you can find links to any number of well known people. My mother is engaged in a major project right now that has linked us to President Bush among others. Ugh.

The leadership angle that McCain is far more likely to play up in his presidential bid is his father and grandfather's roles as US Navy admirals. Neither of those things means a thing either, but they are more relevant, I suppose.

He'll get played up for his own military service and the heroic actions he took in Vietnam, but there are come inconvenient facts that never get reported like the fact that he crashed three planes prior to going to Vietnam, and during a time when he was a LEGENDARY party animal and womanizer.

His ties to his father and grandfather got all of that swept under the carpet, where you or I would probably have been relegated to peeling potatoes.

Mark Humphrys said...

The Guardian article about Robert the Bruce is rubbish.
McCain's family are apparently correct in their claims.
I explain it all here:
The "John McCain and Robert the Bruce" controversy