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No present system inspires respect for the dignity and history of the state. When I was a child in England, the monarchy did that, but no more. In current systems, no one is viewed as being above the fray. Hence my proposal that a member of the Supreme Court or its equivalent be made head of state. This would symbolize the supremacy and historical dignity of the law. Recent developments in Venezuela show that a strong man has little respect for the constitution and the law.
My thesis has just received striking confirmation from a poll conducted by the National Credibility Index, rating from 1 to 45 people's trust in public figures. Supreme Court Justice is number 1, followed by teacher and national expert (good for your self-esteem!). Member of the armed forces is 4, indicating why democratic leaders like Eisenhower and even military dictators have support, although curiously a high-ranking military officer comes in at 8, possibly indicating fear of a man like MacArthur.
Network TV anchor comes in 11. Remember that Walter Cronkite was said the be the most trusted man in America. Other newsmen do quite well.
What about the politicians? State governor comes in 12, Local councilmen 16. National leaders do not fare well. U.S. Senators come in 17, Congressmen 23, Vice-President 32, President 33, members of presidential cabinet 34 (just ahead of student activist, 36!). Political party leader comes in at 42.
Neither business nor labor does well. Wall Street executives rank 31, labor leaders 38. Public relations rate a lowly 43. The craze for athletes (40) and entertainers (44) is clearly just froth.
As the host of the distinguished WAIS TV program, I am offended that talk-show hosts are at the very bottom (45), but C-Span shows that I am not alone. I prefer to rate as a teacher or national expert. In any case, this survey is striking confirmation for my proposal to reform all the constitutions of the world to make a member of the Supreme Court head of state. Just that. Not head of government.
Ronald Hilton - 09/05/99