Next month, Variety magazine will host its annual “Women in Power” luncheon, and will give “Lifetime Impact Awards” to several women in the fields of entertainment and public service.Among the honorees will be Chelsea Clinton. Here are the Top Ten Reasons the ridiculous award starts ethics alarms sounding:
1. The award is incompetent and misleading. Chelsea has done nothing on her own to justify any award. She has been hired for a series of jobs based solely on the prominence of her famous parents, and is on the board of her family foundation, which has funded various humanitarian programs. These are passive achievements that any child of the Clintons would accumulate.
2. The award to Clinton immediately renders worthless Variety’s past and future “Lifetime Impact Awards” to deserving and worthy recipients. It destroys any claim the award has to integrity and sincerity.
3. The award is a lie. Chelsea Clinton is in her thirties, and hasn’t accumulated a lifetime, much less a lifetime of laudable achievements. It is grossly premature, contradicting its own title.
4. The award is cruel. It compels focus on the pathetic, privileged, exploited and exploitative existence of Chelsea Clinton thus far by proclaiming it to be something it obviously is not.
5. The award is unfair. There must be literally millions of women, even at Clinton’s young age, who by their own diligence, perseverance and character have genuinely achieved remarkable things in their lifetimes. Giving the award to Clinton suggests that her “impact” like serving on the board of several large-scale tech firms, operated by major Democratic donors, are more impressive than theirs.
6. The award is irresponsible. Giving Chelsea an award means that someone deserving will not receive the award. It is a cynically squandered opportunity.
7. The award celebrates privilege over character and genuine achievements. It sends the discouraging message that benefiting from family wealth and connections are worthy of special praise.
8. The award is classist and elitist, literally honoring Chelsea for the nearly unavoidable benefits of having elite and powerful parents, showing the influential and powerful using their influence to boost the status and reputations of their own, rather than to search out, encourage and reward the more deserving who are not already in “the club.”
9. The award is offensive, insulting the intelligence of anyone aware of how bereft of genuine initiative and “impact” Chelsea Clinton’s life has been so far.
10. It is unethical for Clinton to accept it, instead of gently turning it down and stating that she would welcome such an award in the future after she has done something to deserve it. Instead, as with everything else, Chelsea is happily accepting the bounty of being born into wealth and power, and, in the words of the late Ann Richards, thinks she has hit a triple because she was born on third base.
UPDATED: The original source for this post, Heat Street, had the story muddled. Chelsea was not, as was stated in the original post, being given a lifetime achievement award, but something called an “impact” award jointly awarded with the Lifetime TV network. Cute play on words there. Outside of the terminology, this is a distinction without a difference, as we say in the law. All ten objections to the award stand, even after the obligatory edits.