08 June 2011

Toute Nation A Le Gouvernement Qu'elle Mérite

The post's title is a quotation by Joseph de Maistre in his Lettres et Opuscules Inédits, Vol. 1, Letter 53, written on 15 August 1811 and published in 1851. The English translation reads, "Every nation has the government it deserves".

Monsieur de Maistre was giving voice to his dislike of democracy, thinking instead that hereditary monarchies were "a divinely sanctioned institution" and "the only stable form of government". He believed that "the social legitimacy of government must therefore be based on compelling non-rational grounds, which its subjects should not be willing (or allowed) to question". Any input or questioning from the masses would only "lead to violence and chaos".

That's all very interesting, Diarist. But what does this have to do with the District, its mayor, or its city council?

Upon the founding of the United States, we turned our back on monarchies. We believed that the People held the wisdom of how they should be governed, and not some man (or woman) holed up inside a castle somewhere. Thus our form of representative democracy was born. What was formed for the nation also became the blueprint for every state, county, and city.

Uh huh. Still not following you here, bud.

I love democracy. I believe that our Founding Fathers got it right and Monsieur de Maistre was a bit off track. That said, I also believe that the People tend to get it wrong from time to time. Democracy is messy and, if the participants aren't paying much attention, can have ... rather untidy consequences.

Which is what leads me to my city.

You may not be aware, but my city's government has been rocked with several lapses of judgement fairly recently. It's a shame that such a rash of highly unethical behavior is going on because we were doing very well for a while there. But now ... now we are being visited by the spectres of the 1980's and the mid-1990's. Trust me, faithful readers, those were not happy days for the District of Columbia.

Let's just have a quick look as some of the goings-on in the past nine months, shall we?
And, really, that's only scratching the surface of how bad things have gotten with our top city government officials.

Look, Washingtonians, our city government is rotten and infested with the worst type of vermin. It is more commonplace to see budget cuts and tax increases coupled with even more ineffectual returns on our financial investment. (Make no mistake of it, people: Your tax dollars are an investment in your city and your government.)

Weak leaders with weak minds and weak resolve.

But you know what really pisses me off?


Yes, you! District residents are the epitome of the ol' axiom, doomed to forever roll the stone up the hill only to watch it roll back down to the bottom come day's end. You constantly elect people to office who fail you. And when the next election comes, you elect the fools again hoping that, maybe this time, they'll do right by you.

They. Won't.

These people are in it for them and theirs. They don't give a rat's ass about you, your struggles, or your needs. And if Rome should burn around their blatant and criminal disregard ... what, they worry? Their abandonment of their real duties is made obvious at how they repeatedly, quickly, easily, and flagrantly flout the rules of law ... actions that would land you or me in jail quicker than you can say, "My kidneys made me do it".

Our swamp is putrid and it needs to be drained. We need to rid ourselves of the career politicians who are in it for themselves. We need to clean out the corruption and usher in stewards who will act in our best interests.

Otherwise, notre ville a le gouvernement qu'il mérite.

No comments: