Friday, October 14, 2016

Designated Survivor


Because of Kiefer Sutherland, I decided to watch Designated Survivor. (I think Kiefer Sutherland is an adept performer and he has a gift for projecting resolve and decency. I spent a few years of my life watching a few days of Jack Bauer's life. Seeing him save the country is believable)

Though I have only watched 4 episodes so far, I think this political drama is fast-moving, reasonably believable, intriguing, and is a ton of fun. Seth Wright (Kal Penn) is my favorite character so far. (As of now, Josiah Bartlet is still my favorite fictional President of the United States onscreen. We shall see if  the mild-mannered but firm Thomas Kirkman could surpass him.) 

Anyway, this blog is not about the TV series. 

After watching the pilot of the TV series, I googled Designated survivor. Apparently this TV series premise is based on the real practice which is governed by the Presidential Succession Act. The concept of a “designated survivor” first arose sometime during the Cold War, but become more serious after 911. There have been two designated survivors — one Cabinet member to rebuild the executive branch and one member of the congressional leadership to lead a new legislature. Since this designated survivor may have the possibility to become the president, the designated survivor candidate must be at least 35 years old and a natural-born citizen. (Of course, the designee doesn’t automatically become president. If another administration official higher in the line of succession happens to survive, he or she would take office instead.)  So, in the event of an attack that wiped out the nation's leaders, there is a functioning government within a week of an attack. 

Out of curiosity, I want to know what happens if this happen in Malaysia? Since we inherited British system, I googled and found this: What Happens if the British Government is Wiped Out? Apparently, Britain doesn't have procedures in place. In short, it means outside of a very tight inner circle, nobody knows exactly who would be in charge once the bombs start dropping. The reasoning: "Britain is relatively well placed to deal with it because of our strong governmental institutions. If your governance is pretty good then government departments can go on automatically for some time.” 

Unfortunately, we inherited British system. In a rough equivalent to Designated Survivor, that Parliament was attacked during the Parliament Opening, we are doomed. 

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