Political Dynasties

Political Dynasties

The Fourcast explores families in politics both in the nation and in the Hockaday community.

Now just a year away, the 2016 presidential election has started to become a topic of interest as high name politicians are being watched closely for candidacy announcements. Among the potential candidates are Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, names that the American public have seen in the headlines for many years.

This election brings with it the question of the existence of political dynasties in America and whether or not the political cartoon maincontrol of the government belongs only to a small few. Brother of senior Claudia Hammond, Ron Hammond, who has worked closely on three Texas state elections, attributes this to the political system itself.

“It’s not an oligarchy, no, but the system needs to be re-worked,” Hammond said.  “Because of political action committees and the other methods of funding, we are going to be seeing these powerful families in power. They have certain advantages that other candidates don’t.”

U.S. Government teacher Tracy Walder goes even further to say that name recognition in America is essential to a candidate’s success.

“Since the birth of our nation, I believe there have been political dynasties. Simply by having a two-party system, we make it almost necessary to have some sort of name recognition or else the candidate will not receive funding from donors,” she said. “[Voters] tend to feel comfortable with a ‘brand name’ candidate who is familiar to them.”

At Hockaday, the dynasties are less obvious, as sisters often follow in each others footsteps more out of similar interests and aspirations.

Senior Charlsea Lamb and her sister sophomore Ellea Lamb are one example. Both runners and active participants in Hockaday’s student council, the Lamb sisters can be viewed as a prominent Upper School family. As Student Council President, Charlsea attributes her drive to succeed to the household she was raised in.

“My dad is a lawyer, so he has always been very interested in politics, so from a young age, my dad and I have talked politics and policy a lot. So when I got into high school, I realized that Student Council President was one way of being responsible for change,” she said. “I felt like having two parents who are highly educated and successful meant that I, too, had to push myself to do as much as I could to continue that legacy.”

She, however, does not believe that in any supposed “political family” that success is a birthright or guaranteed fact.

“If you are taught from a young age that something is really important to your family, then you grow up doing it. So that’s probably what is happening with the families we see,” she said.  “I don’t think their name necessarily defines who they will be or what they will accomplish, but the way they were raised obviously influenced them.”

Watching her sister take the same path she did, Charlsea said that despite what it may look like from the outside, siblings have no advantages in the Hockaday community.

“Just because I did these things doesn’t mean it’s any easier for her to do them. She still has to work just as hard and go through the same or even different obstacles to achieve everything she has,” Charlsea said.

Ellea echoed this sentiment and said, “she just happened to come first, but my interests have always been mine, and it doesn’t make what I do any less important or easier.”

Junior States of America club President and senior Jessica Kong believes that on a national scale, whatever advantage well-known candidates might have can be broken by an active voting population.

“I think that if the number of young voters increases, we will see a lot of change,” she said.  “We are pretty under-represented in the government, and I think if our voices are heard that could swing the vote.”

– Avita Anand, Business Manager