800 years of the same ol’ same ol’
I’ve been reading a book on the brother kings, Richard and John of England, in the second half of the 1100s to nearly the middle of the 1200s. Two brothers quite different – Richard quite a warrior and gay to boot, and John a hetero bully who couldn’t do much right. So much so that the barons got Magna Carta out of him in 1215, to make sure the path to increased liberty was begun, as the Mayor of NYC Bloomberg pointed out just the other day. And too, I’ve been reading two books by John Boswell on the happy, accepting, who cared, gay life and ceremony and attitudes towards gays in the years since Christ up to the 1400s, when things got mean. Quite an interesting bunch of stuff; to get my mind off of the convoluted politics of our day. Except, well, except there it is right there, the same danged stuff, 800 years later. The nation is broke, and people are freaked over Jews and Gays.
When the Senate rejects the president’s budget by a vote of 97-0 (where were the other three scoundrels?) I’d say the president’s credibility is pretty slim. Obama is luckier, he still has some statutory authority; kings of old had to be bold to exercise power, and most people didn’t listen to them anyway, especially if you had a castle and a few towns to pull knights from. Though at times, dukes and lords can be compared to our governors, and they can tell Obama “no.”
And they seem to be doing that with ObamaCare, what with 26 states arguing for the law to be declared unconstitutional. And with immigration, with Arizona and Georgia going pretty much farther than the feds in stopping the illegals. They’re punishing the illegals in one way or the other, and trying to destroy their job prospects so that I guess that they’ll go home. Still, there’s no other solution other than Medieval punishment of sorts, or complete legalization – which is unfair to everyone who waited and followed the law. Breaking the law should not be rewarded with the right to vote, I don’t think.
But still, apparently the president submitted a $3.7 Trillion dollar budget and the Senate said “no.” Well, good for them. For the budget must be brought down to $2.4 Trillion – for that’s the amount of taxes brought in. There’s no logical or fiscal or economic or practical reason to keep deficit spending at $1.5 Trillion forever. It’s impossible to sustain, and the system will break, and whatever anyone thinks they’re protecting is going to be gone anyway.
Though in reading about Richard & John, who actually got to play king, I learn also of their two brothers, Henry and Geoffery. These latter two were older, and never got to be king at all. Such was life and death in the Middle Ages. But of Henry, who was technically king, though never ruled, since his father was still alive, and the kid was crowned just to make sure he became king upon the dad’s death but died first, and in the meantime given a few duchies and things to lord over while waiting, this author, Frank McLynn, writes this (somewhat abridged by me):
“Henry was charismatic, tall, good looking, and rather prone to entertaining people. He filled his kingdoms with jousts and tournaments and all the knights loved him. And when men of high degree saw how he brought together all men of worth they were amazed at his wisdom and followed his lead.”
I don’t know, sounds like the president today, doesn’t it? And a lot of senators and congress people and not a few governors now that I think about it. They’re sort of the dukes and lords and earls to Obama’s charismatic king, though. I think Henry was bringing hope and change to his kingdoms, for sure. And everyone loved him, mostly. Alas, McLynn informs us:
“The Young King had many grave faults. He was vain, shallow, irresponsible, and impatient, a man who wanted the good things of life now and was unwilling to wait. A hedonist and wastrel, permanently in debt, he was prodigal, improvident, insouciant and foolish; the notion of paying his way or balancing budgets was unknown to him.”
Now, how come this sounds so familiar 800 years later right there in DC? If that’s not Obama, I don’t know who. And again, not a few senators, representatives, and governors galore, if the state of the public purse is to be believed. Every state seems to be woefully in debt, and the Federales get to run huge deficits, “balancing budgets” being “unknown” to them, indeed.
And then, of the politics of Young Henry’s time (and he was called that to distinguish him from Henry II, the Old King,) this is said: “As with most charismatic figures, he was given the benefit of the doubt, and sagacious observers, bedazzled by his charm and magnetism, put their intellectual faculties on hold and indulged in a primitive form of sun worship.” Well, don’t that sum it up? Surely the mainstream media is in love with the guy, and they make no pretense otherwise, and yet they don’t seem to see his budget balancing abilities as a peril to the nation, just as Young Henry’s was a peril to his kingdoms, for the numbers are still the numbers.
More – “Henry was bored by everything that did not involve adventure, pleasure or high excitement of all kinds. Essentially a case of arrested development, …, incapable of thinking things through.” Like, oh, say, telling Israel to go back to the borders of 1967. Which just caused grief, and 29 standing ovations in the course Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress. Weirdly, why doesn’t Obama suggest going back to the borders of 1167, when it was a Christian Kingdom in peril by the Muslims; which too sounds familiar doesn’t it? Quite a peace “process” what with 800 years of squabbling over the borders around there, and none of the three religions from supposedly the same two people, Adam & Eve, still threatening to kill each other and their gays too.
And surely much as been made in many quarters about the numbers of vacations, parties, soirees, basketball and golf games, and now ping-pong diplomacy with England itself, that Obama seems always concerned with pleasure and high excitement while being improvident in proposing a budget not a single member of his own party liked, to the point of 97-0. I’m not sure I ever heard of proposals which get so soundly rejected. Even DOMA didn’t get such a high tally.
So it the era of hope and change over? I hope so. Let’s get real. The country is broke, and going broker, and we’ve got the choice to stick with Obama, as Young King Henry, or go the way of John, and just get a basic bully, or, weirdly, if we’re lucky, we’ll get a nice guy like Richard, whom no one ever seemed to have a bad thing to say about, even though he was quite a gents man..
Meanwhile, Tim Pawlenty, who imagines himself king, is all for more government, “the era of small government is over,” he’s reputed to have said. Yes, well, I suppose it was, back when FDR got into office. Where has the man been? Though I don’t think he’s been in Minnesota of late, his home state, for I haven’t heard a peep from him about the fracas caused by the Medieval thinking preacher of “execute the gays” fame coming to the state’s House of Representatives and pretty much saying just that, on the eve of a vote to spending millions of dollars improvidently to deny gay people forever, they think, a shred of recognition and reality, and religious freedom either.
For they proposed a constitutional amendment to deny religious freedom to any religions which recognize gay couples and the religious rights of gay couples as they perceive religion, just like Henry II, the profligate Henry’s father, denied the Jews the right to marry, and even expelled them from his kingdoms, like Peter Sprigg of the ill-named Family Research Council wants to expel America’s gays, and he’s mentioned this to Pawlenty, who idea on the issue is not clear, but doesn’t seem that drastic, being merely heaping a little bile upon us, should we get too powerful or something.
And so even in reading about events of 800 years ago, it’s clear, nothing much has changed. The politicians are corrupt and power mad, and anyone who trusts a one of them is nuts. And the media, (back then it was the troubadors,) are quite adept in sycophancy and trouble causing (look at those two words: troubador and trouble, related? Hmm, eh?) and charismatic know-nothings and dilletantes with hangers on improvidently spending the wealth of the nation in unbalanced budgets. And look, a gay guy rode in, to save the day, Richard the Lionhearted, and then, well, he had no kids. And so they got a bully, John, who bankrupted the nation and led it to endless pointless wars, and raised the taxes higher than the people would stand, and no royal boy ever got the name John again, that’s how bad he was, but the people got a charter of liberty. But it’s the most commonest name in England, it’s said, and they’re pretty bullyish too. Maybe it’s in the name, you know, being a synonym for a bathroom could make some guy cranky. But really, back then in England, a gay king who was a knight in shining armor, too. That’s a piece of history that needs to be repeated for sure.
And look, despite all that, there’s still an England, with a fairy tale wedding for a prince just the other day. But we went beyond English liberties, to American liberties, and so now it’s time for some fairy-prince wedding tales to be told.
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