When the founders of the United States were born, the world was ruled by kings. A nation's king earned office by dint of birth, not merit. The bloodline of royalty was said to bequeath a unique honor upon a family that entitled it to establish a glorious succession of rule carried down through multiple generations.
But through a bloody revolution, the American people replaced that system more than two hundred years ago with a government based on the principle of democracy. Democracy is defined as rule by the people of a nation, not rule over the people of a nation. In a democracy, each person's vote counts, no matter the loftiness or lowliness of that person's station. In a just democracy, anyone can grow up to lead.
Unfortunately, the United States began more as a democracy in words than a democracy in deed, with anyone who wasn't male, white or a landowner disenfranchised. But our nation's history tells a grand story of change, as through struggle our political system came more and more to resemble the democratic ideal. Our tradition of progress toward a true and just democracy continued through the end of the twentieth century...
...then came to a screeching halt with the selection of George W. Bush as our 43rd President. Not since the very dawn of our nation had a son of a President himself ascended to the Presidency. Before this election, only one man, John Quincy Adams, had succeeded his father, John Adams. John the Second received the most of neither the popular nor the electoral vote, but rather was selected after behind-the-scenes dealmaking by the House of Representatives. In this election, George Walker Bush succeeded his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, although he did not receive the most of the popular vote and did not clearly earn the majority of the electoral vote. Rather, after behind-closed-doors deliberation, the members of a Supreme Court appointed by George the First and his Patron (Ronald Reagan) selected for George the Second before all votes could be counted.
The selection of George the Second is a move away from democracy. By the very standard agreed to by the loftiest Court in the land (that a valid vote be one in which the intention of the voter is clear), not all valid votes were counted. In the coming days, analyses of those valid yet uncounted votes may well show that in an election, Al Gore would have been the popular and electoral winner. But that election was trumped by a Court's selection, which was in turn justified by a lack of time engineered days earlier by the very same faction of that very same Court. Palace intrigue has usurped the will of the people.
The selection of George the Second is a move backward to Kingship. An office has been inherited through favors of the father, not earned as a mandate of the people. George the First's circle of officials and advisers ensured that the Pretender to the Throne amassed enough resources to intimidate away fellow contenders within his own ranks. The same circle came to the Younger's aid when it became apparent that his ascendancy to the throne was threatened. Since George the Second ascended to his Throne with only a handful years of political education under his belt, the same officals and advisers reaped the reward for their service and took their places as the new ruler's Regents - the true power and control behind the Throne.
As George the Second's power grab is consolidated, the unraveling of American democracy has begun. Selection by dint of blood turns the American struggle on its head and returns us to the very system we rebelled against so long ago. The inheritance of rule despite lack of experience, despite lack of merit, and despite lack of electoral mandate shows how hollow the old promise of democracy, that anyone could grow up to be President, has become.
A President is democratically elected. A King is regally selected.
God Save King George the Second.
Better hurry and speak up now,
before John Ashcroft does away with that pesky 1st Amendment!
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