I decided to turn my pain into a constructive force

As of this writing, Michelle Bachelet may well have received Sebastian Pinera's phone call conceding the presidency of Chile.

While you read the following, think to yourself, would a candidate like Bachelet win in an American presidential campaign?

Bachelete survived being a political prisoner of General Augusto Pinochet. Her father was arrested and tortured. She and her mother were incarcerated and beaten then exiled in 1975. She returned in 1979 to restore the democracy that Pinochet took away from Chile.

"I saw friends disappear, who were jailed or tortured. But I decided to turn my pain into a constructive force."

Bachelete was pleased and pleasantly surprised. Bachelet had expected resistance from Chile's conservative military establishment when appointed defense minister. "I was a woman, separated, a socialist, an agnostic ... all possible sins together."

She's determined to lower the 10 percent peak unemployment rate, improve public health/housing and education services. She wants to curb urban crime. And she'll tackle Chile's 25-year-old private social security systems to ensure better pensions for retirees.

Bachelet has professed another goal. This is the one that convinced me she would never make it in the United States as a politician. She wants to reduce inequities among the rich and the poor.

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