Favorite

Chelsea Clinton and the lucky sperm club 

click to enlarge Chelsea Clinton image

The New York Times carried a glowing profile Sunday about Chelsea Clinton's decision to step fully from the shadows and seek a public life.

She's joined a corporate board, gotten a job as a correspondent for NBC and has her pick of gatherings of the mighty or simply important just about anywhere on the globe.

Reactions tended to fall along partisan lines. Fans of Bill and/or Hillary Clinton were happy for their 31-year-old daughter. Non-fans weren't impressed. She'd done nothing to deserve her good fortune except choose good parents, they said. The really ugly ones criticized everything from her hairstyle to her speech.

I'm not impartial on the subject. I've known Chelsea since she was an infant, though most of my exposure came before her move to Washington in junior high. She's remained friendly with my daughter and has been good to her. That's enough for me.

But Chelsea is smart and poised. She's worked hard at demanding schools and jobs. Would she be precisely where she is today without her famous parents? Of course not. She hasn't claimed otherwise. (I do like how often she credits her Grandmother Rodham for sage advice.)

But she now has made the important decision to accept inheritance of her parents' considerable public franchise. If nothing else, her growth in the larger public world might position her to someday take leadership of the Clinton Foundation. If she's lucky — if we're all lucky — she will continue to amass the resources her father has raised for fighting significant global problems. If she should decide to try politics, she's been homeschooled by the best and brightest.

Make no mistake. Chelsea Clinton is a one percenter, if not precisely in the net worth category, close enough. She is also, if you prefer, a lucky sperm club member. But she manages to send a signal that she understands how much of her stature is owed to her parents. She signals a generosity of spirit about her good fortune that is more reminiscent of a Buffett than a Koch.

We will always have the 1 percent. There's nothing inherently evil about being in that small number. The question is how much the 1 percent is willing to allow the 99 percent to share. And how much they understand on their sometimes inherited perches that it takes more than a non-union school teacher or sweat of manual toil to overcome childhood deprivation.

You need not be wealthy to be a lucky sperm. I've been awfully lucky. Grandparents on both sides went to college or professional (nursing) schools, despite roots as descendants of pea patch farmers, mule skinners and German immigrants. My parents were both college graduates, one thanks to night-shift work in a Boeing factory, the other thanks to the G.I. bill.

My mother worked, but she also helped start a pre-school program with a trained teacher for children of working parents. We had shelves full of books. College wasn't a question of if, but which.

My dad, a salesman, got some pleasure out of measuring his success by the size of his commission checks. But he knew life held other satisfactions — family, travel, history, the life stories of any and all he encountered. He also shared my love for newspapers. He had no complaint when I bypassed his business for a job in a field not known for its riches.

What a lucky sperm I was. Inheritances are measured by more than checking accounts.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Chelsea Clinton

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • In black and white

    The men and women who patrol Little Rock in black and white vehicles tell a story in black and white.
    • Dec 7, 2017
  • Man's world

    The news of high-profile men outed for sexual harassment and worse shows no sign of abating soon.
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • The Clintons

    I wasn't particularly excited about the 25th anniversary celebration of Bill Clinton's election. Life goes on.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31  

Most Viewed

  • Gratitude

    Now, more than ever, I find myself thankful for those who resist. Those who remind us of our higher common values. The fact-checkers and truth-tellers. Those who build bridges in communities instead of walls to segregate. The ones who stand up and speak out against injustice.
  • A difference

    How low can a columnist go? On evidence, nowhere near as low as the president of the United States. I'd intended to highlight certain ironies in the career of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). The self-anointed moral arbiter of the Senate began her career as a tobacco company lawyer — that is, somebody ill-suited to demand absolute purity of anybody, much less Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
  • Money talks

    Democratic candidates face a dilemma in Arkansas. To take on the GOP members who are firmly entrenched in the state Legislature and Congress, they will need lots of money and lots of votes. The easiest way to get more votes is to spend more money. Obscene amounts of money. And thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and President Trump's judicial appointments, this will be our reality for a long time. The six Republicans who make up our congressional delegation have stopped pretending to care about their constituents. They vote in line with the interests of big corporations and lobbyists. They know what side their bread is buttered on.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: A difference

    • History is likely to move with light speed in concluding that in late 2017 society…

    • on December 14, 2017
  • Re: A difference

    • Gillibrand is a tough chick, and she knows she is a political whore, like 95%…

    • on December 14, 2017
  • Re: Cats and dogs

    • I miss my wolves. It has been over five years since the last of my…

    • on December 12, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation