of apples and trees

I should state at the outset here that it is probably a bit unfair of me to use this piece by Molly Redden about the children of prominent politicians and the rapid evolution of views on marriage as the jumping-off point for the point I want to make, because my beef is rather far from the focus of her piece. That said, sections like this really bother me:

Other political children have been out ahead of their parents, using their famous last names to bring attention to the issue even when their parents still opposed it. The three eldest Huntsman sisters—Mary Anne, Liddy, and Abby—all publicly supported same-sex marriage before their father, Jon Huntsman... Barbara Pierce Bush, one of George W. Bush’s twin daughters, filmed a short spot in favor of a 2011 marriage equality bill in New York State. Her mother, faced with the opportunity to do the same, chickened out, asking that supportive statements she’d made about same-sex marriage be pulled from a pro-marriage-equality ad. (Meanwhile, George W. Bush has given no signals that he’s moving on the issue.) And while being a Republican and marriage equality advocate can be a real bitch—her words—Meghan McCain has pushed the issue tirelessly as a writer and speaker. She apparently won over her mother, who appeared in a pro-same sex marriage photo shoot in 2010; John McCain, however, remains opposed.
The underlying premise to this observation being in any way remarkable is the unspoken expectation that the children--and specifically, the adult children--of public figures are predisposed to share the political beliefs of their famous fathers and mothers (though I cannot help but notice that every example above is a case of daughters and fathers). As though to bear the family name is to inherit the political philosophy.

Ms. McCain in particular--regardless of whether you find her particularly insightful or interesting--has certainly earned the right to be considered in her own right. Not because she's willing to break with daddy on the issue of marriage, but because she has built a career as a prolific writer and engaging media personality. That she would have opinions of her own and express them publicly is approximately as surprising as the sun coming up.

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