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The Sins of the Father

December 3, 2009

Chelsea Clinton

It was announced earlier this week that Chelsea Clinton, daughter of the 42nd President, Bill Clinton and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, had become engaged to Marc Mezvinsky.

In most cases this would be a simple nod and congratulations to the couple. However in this case the engagement becomes complicated with the knowledge that Mezvinsky is the son of disgraced Senator Edward Mezvinsky, who pleaded guilty in 2002 to the swindling of more than $10 million in a Nigerian scam. His mother is Marjorie Margoiles-Mezvinsky, herself a former Senator, who was disposed of her seat in 1994 after supporting President Clinton’s first budget.

But what seemed to be the final straw for naysayers was the fact that Marc has been employed by Goldman Sachs (although he is now employed by G3 Capital.

Although the anger towards the corporation and it’s involvement in the recent economic crisis that hit not only the US but the rest of the world, is understandable, it became increasingly worrying as I participated in news blogs over the past few days how the venom was not just dripping but pouring down onto Marc, even though he personally had nothing to do with the crisis.

But spare a thought for Chelsea too. The past, albeit tainted by the many untruths from the Ken Starr Report, were to be visited on her, again for the only crime that, as some saw, her parents were in the wrong. The consensus by many seemed to be that the “apple never falls far from the tree”, but is this really true?Taking the accusations towards Chelsea, many believe that this engagement is somehow a marrying up of the Democratic Party to Wall Street. The sad part of this is, by making such a comment people are forgetting the fact that Chelsea and Marc have known each other since they were in college and have known each other since 1997. To me that is some stretch of a conspiracy to say that this engagement is one of political gain. Given the stain that has befallen Goldman Sachs, and given the high profile her mother now has as Secretary of State, it barely seems a wise move that for political gain a marriage would be sought.

But this is not the only charge levelled. Some Republicans still believe the many accusations levelled at Chelsea’s father during the failed impeachment investigations conducted by Ken Starr. These include property scams, murder, embezzlement, and that’s without coming to the actual charge of “stain on a dress”. However is this fair? Chelsea was a child during this time and had to watch uncomfortably as many in the country bayed after her father for his blood and career. She also had to watch as her father’s indiscretions were aired out in a very public arena. Yet some want to say that she, as her future husband, come from a “family of crooks”.

There is of course evidence that Marc’s father is tainted criminally and although the majority of scandals levelled at the Clintons amounted to little more than rumors, it does leave them with a tainted past. But does this mean the sins of the father must become those of the children?

While debating this point on the Huffington Post, I asked a rhetorical question. Would one say this about say, the offspring of Charles Manson? The reason I used this scenario is because of the emergence of a story in recent weeks that a man found out he was the son of Charles Manson. Matthew Roberts who was born after his mother’s alleged rape by the cult leader, recently tracked down his father and has exchanged a number of letters with him. But the question has to be asked, if his father is Charles Manson, does this mean the sins of the father should befall the son?

Of course it’s not the case, and as some rather impolitely pointed out this is hyperbole, but the same has to be said about accusations made towards Chelsea. Yes she comes from a rich family and yes she has had privileges that many do not get, but this does not make her bad person. And neither can Marc be blamed for the actions his father so selfishly took.

So why the onslaught? Why the rage, the cynicism and accusations? Why? Maybe because for some, they can not see beyond a name or the merits of people as individuals no matter where they come from. Their minds are already made up about people.

Congratulations Chelsea and Marc, may your years be happy and plenty.

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