American politics is strongly family oriented. I don't mean that politicians care about families, or at least say they do. I mean that there are these enormous political dynasties that are based on a handful of families.
The Kennedy family. The Bushes. The Clintons. John Kerry and George W Bush are related. And Barack Obama is Dick Cheney's cousin.
Not surprisingly, there are those who consider the US to be more of an oligarchy than a true democracy:
According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered as elected oligarchies. In these systems, actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an 'acceptable' and 'respectable' political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites.
Sounds like American politics to me. And to a lesser extent, Australian.
I think it is a fine thing that Americans are seriously considering a black man whose father was raised a Muslim but became an atheist for president, but why am I not surprised to learn that he's not quite so much of an outsider as he appeared at first glance?
Speaking of the incestuousness of the ruling class, did you know that Queen Elizabeth II is directly descended from the prophet Mohammad?
Mixed in with Queen Elizabeth's blue blood is the blood of the Moslem prophet Mohammed, according to Burke's Peerage, the geneological guide to royalty. The relation came out when Harold B. Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke's, wrote Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to ask for better security for the royal family. ''The royal family's direct descent from the prophet Mohammed cannot be relied upon to protect the royal family forever from Moslem terrorists,'' he said. Probably realizing the connection would be a surprise to many, he added, ''It is little known by the British people that the blood of Mohammed flows in the veins of the queen. However, all Moslem religious leaders are proud of this fact.''