Born president

Saw the name of Alberto Fujimori, ex-president of Peru, on the news, and went to Wikipedia. For some reason I (like some Peruvians) had gotten the impression that Fujimori was born in Japan, and then later moved and became the president of Peru. That’s not the case, which is a shame — for some reason I find the thought of a foreign-origin head of state (especially such a seemingly unlikely combination as Japan and Peru!) very exciting and nice. (Then again, while Fujimori can be described as exciting, “nice” is probably right out.)

Then I tried to find if there was a Wikipedia article on “heads of state born in a different country” or something like; no luck. (Then again, it would have been a mostly very dull list: for US, Washington, Jefferson, six other names and Harrison.)

After a while it dawned on me that the absence of the article was most likely because of those stupid born-citizen clauses, namely those that say something like “the candidate has to be born in the country to be eligible for the office.” That sort of a thing doesn’t seem to be very common anymore, except with heads of state — Peru, Finland, US, many others.

Apparently the first five seconds or so that you breathe air outside your mother have a deep and lasting impact on your ability to govern things. That must be some pretty complex evo-devo biology.

What this all means is that while we might some dark day actually see Tony “American Gladiator turned redneck populist politician” Halme become the president of Finland, one has to — barring really improbable developments — rent, for example, the excellent movie Demolition Man to see a President Schwarzenegger.

(One has to wonder if “Four More Years” would be replaced with “I’ll Be Back”.)

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