Is Georgetown an elitist school? My parents seem to assume so, based on my returning home for summer after freshman year and having become, to their observation, somewhat elitist. I agree with them, in part. Georgetown is a prestigious school, located in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in the country with neighbors who are the political elite of the world’s most powerful country.

But Georgetown isn’t the stereotypical elitist school. Rather, I find it noteworthy because it is an overwhelmingly diverse campus, committed to multiculturalism and critical thought. In fact, I see the only common thread between all the various versions of a Hoya as an uncanny ability to learn. This exposure and academic energy is what sets Georgetown apart.

However, this year’s presidential campaign has groomed us all to despise elitism. Barack Obama would have much higher numbers in the polls if he weren’t branded as an elitist or part of the “liberal elite.” The negative connotation of these words must be reinterpreted because the elite of this nation is changing.

I see Georgetown’s brand of elitism as analogous to that of Obama. Neither is negative. I classify them as educational elitism. This sort of elitism is not based on wealth or success. The ideology rests on the fact that those who are privileged enough to become educated end up in powerful places because of their persistent learning. The educated elite should, then, use its brainpower to further the educational opportunities of others and improve society in a moral, efficient and pluralistic way.

Cultural observer and New York Times columnist David Brooks recently expressed in his column “The Next Culture War” that the elite is no longer based on family or wealth, but it is now based on education because America is the first to have a mass educated class.

He wrote, “Liberal members of the educated class celebrated the cultural individualism of the 1960s. Conservative members celebrated the economic individualism of the 1980s. But they all celebrated individualism. They all valued diversity and embraced a sense of national identity that rested on openness and global integration.” Barack Hussein Obama, with strong support from the elite, could be the multicultural symbol for the much-needed increase in global understanding and reputation. (And notice how his middle name was actually a benefit here!)

As an educated voter, I value intellect and competence: Barack Obama is one of the most educated presidential candidates I’ve seen in my lifetime. A graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama is clearly a smart man. Judging on the past eight years, the presidency of the United States is not an easy occupation, and it requires abnormal amounts of decision-making. For this, I trust the most educated and well-informed candidate.

On the opposing team is John McCain, who graduated 894th in a class of 899 from the Naval Academy. This disgraceful fact is a testament to his privileged upbringing in the Navy and his taking education for granted, rather than actively having to challenge his mind to work for success.

Sarah Palin is a highly amiable country woman, but the educated elite is not looking for that. I believe there are several highly educated conservatives who keep mum about Sarah Palin, probably because they realize their Grand Old Party recently scaled down its intellect to entice the masses.

The changing definition of the elite to cosmopolitan, globally aware modernists has “emancipated the well-educated but left the Sam’s Club voters feeling insecure,” Brooks said in a different column. Palin was the GOP’s attempt to seem like it cared about the Joe Six Packs at Sam’s Club. In choosing a running mate based on campaign strategy rather than credentials and competency, I believe McCain alienated the educated elite.

I don’t think Palin is the most uneducated person ever. I just do not see her as outstanding or impressively intelligent.

But, it is natural to want to have leaders who are more cut out for the job than you are. In today’s day and age, being cut out for the tremendous duty, according to our cultural elite, involves a well-educated, powerful mind. I know I want someone a lot smarter than me to be running this country.

I empathize with supporters of both candidates, though. It’s a presidential election – its unfortunate nature is to highlight divisions in our nation. This time, our divisions are starkest in the realm of education.

Superseding parties and policies, my most prominent rationale for voting this election is based simply on education and a natural intellect, rather than the counsel of over-simplified, nonsensical partisan-smear propaganda. At this crucial time in our history, we need the best of the best to run our country. I hope you vote with the same criteria in mind.

Dean Lieberman is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at RAVING ABOUT MY GENERATION appears every other Tuesday.

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