Sunday, October 4, 2009

Some Statistics Concerning the Presidents of the United States.

Presidential religions: 43 Protestants, 1 Catholic, no Jews, Moslims, Wiccas, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, adherents of other religions or (forthright) atheists.

Gender designations: all 44 so far have claimed to be male, and that's fine if that's how they've wanted to be seen, although in the case of the smooth-faced, wide-hipped, bosomy and childless father of our country, George Washington, I really have to wonder whether the gender could not have been regarded as somewhat ambiguous.

First names: 6 Jameses, 4 Johns, 4 Williams, 3 Georges, 2 Andrews, 2 Franklins, and 1 each for Thomas, Martin, Zachary, Millard, Abraham, Ulysses, Rutherford, Chester, Grover, Benjamin, Theodore, Woodrow, Warren, Calvin, Herbert, Harry, Dwight, Lyndon, Richard, Gerald, Ronald and Barack.

I'm not entirely certain, but I believe that the surnames of 29 of the Presidents have been English. Van Buren and the Roosevelts had Dutch surnames; Harding and Eisenhower are German names, and I think that Polk, Taft, and Hoover may be too, or maybe Dutch or Scandanavian; Buchanan is Scotch, McKinley is either Scotch or Irish, Lincoln and Kennedy are Irish names and I believe Ford may be too; and I don't know whether Obama comes from Arabic, or Swahili, or from some other language.

There are no Spanish surnames among this group. No Italian, or French, or Portugese, possibly no Scandanavian surnames, no Slavic surnames, no Chinese or Japanese or Korean surnames, no Indian surnames, neither of the Native American nor of the subcontinental kind.

Overall, that's a pretty WASPy boys' club, not at all reflective of the cultural diversity of the US. If that was the membership list of a country club the club would be wide open to litigation for breaking anti-discrimination laws, notwithstanding the great breakthrough of the most recent membership.

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