Discussing with a Member of Parliament why so many did not emphasize their education or intellect. Member of Parliament in question was a brilliant lawyer in a prestigious firm, prior to being elected. His point: I need to be liked by the electorate, and they aren’t going to like me for being perceived to be more intelligent and more talented than they are. Hence, every election, which he wins by wide margins, he “dumbs it down”. He pointed to Michael Ignatieff and Stéphane Dion, who emphasized their intellect (or at least did not hide it), and ended up going nowhere.
Seems like we have been into decades now of the “great equalizer”. No need to look up to anyone, based on superior intellect, talent or accomplishments. Remembering how former Prime Minister Kim Campbell was regarded as so intellectually aloof, simply because she had a Masters Degree in Law, it seemed.
Remember how my ex-wife’s aunt described, with awe, a Toronto lawyer she had once known: “He was a K.C.” or King’s Counsel. Great respect for the accomplshment, which was at the time not honorific.
There are a lot of decidedly average people who succeed in being elected to public office. Maybe they have it easier, because they have nothing to hide, at least intellectually, or in terms of professional or occupational accompishment. It seems tragic that someone who is truly accomplished and exceptional must feel compelled to hide all of that, in order to be perceived to be more electable.
Hey, I’m just like you. Let’s talk football, rather than national finances.
Postscript, June 9, 2012: I was in error; former Prime Minister Kim Campbell did not have a Masters Degree in Law. The “not like you” dimension is that she went directly from a Bachelors Degree to a qualfication year of studies for doctoral work at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She ultimately left the doctoral program.