ETT: Chief Justice Tamoràn has honoured ETT again by penning the below, a personal opinion on the state of our political culture.
Government is Service
The function of Government is to serve the people. The Government, here in Talossa consists of three parts: the Legislature (the Ziu), the Executive (in its various Ministries), and the Judiciary. As symbolic chief to all these we have the Monarch (who is sometimes stated to be the chief of just the Executive – see the current TalossaWiki – but who is, in fact, the chief of all of these – again, see the current TalossaWiki). The members of the Ziu are Representatives of their constituencies – that is, they represent and are the servants of those who elect them, the people. The head of each department of the Executive is a Minister – one who serves or ministers unto, in the long run, the people. Each judge is a Justice, in which very name all are reminded that what s/he serves is not their own individual pleasures, but above all serves Justice, which has to be exercised for the long term benefit of the people. Above these, and to whom all sections of government report, is the Monarch, the symbolic head of the people. But – and here’s a point we too often forget – the Monarch is him/herself the chosen head of the people.
In each case, it is the people who are being served.
Thus, when an individual seeks any sort of office and, especially, when an individual holds any sort of office, then that person must always remember that the office is not for them alone, nor for their individual glory, but is there to serve the people.
In Western politics – indeed, in the politics of most countries, wherever placed – we often use Conflict in our ordering of departments of the government, and in their exercise. Candidates fight an election, individuals struggle to lead departments, there is much heat in the choosing of the Monarch, the appointment of judges is (all too often) a political rather than a juridic choice (this is particularly noticeable in the USA, but not so much in the UK, nor in the EU). We also have – and this is a good thing, a mark of our collective freedom – open criticism by the people, at all times, of the way in which each office is being used: “that is not a good law, let us change it” (possibly through election); “that is not a good executive action, let us ask to have it changed” – or, rather, for the like never to happen again (possibly through election for those who choose the ministers); “that legal decision does not represent true justice” – let us fix this for the future (possibly through election of those who make or administer the law); “that monarch does not serve the people” – let us correct this error for the future (possibly through election, and possibly – our history shows this – through popular rebellion). In each case it is the people who decide.
Sometimes the working out of the people’s decisions takes a long time to happen. This is reasonable, as the deeper the change, the more carefully it has to be considered. But, in the long term, it is not the Ministers, it is not the Representatives by themselves, it is not the individual Justices outside of the considerations of Law, and it is not the Monarch in person – nor the Monarch’s individual officers of state – it is the people, you, my fellow citizens, who decide. You are the ones being ministered unto, you are the ones being represented, you are the ones choosing the implementation of the laws, you are the ones being symbolically governed. It is you that has the highest status – that’s part of what “democracy” means.
So, what do we actually do in Talossa? How do our country and our government appear to the casual passer-by, or to new, prospective, citizens? Well, my friends (and you are my friends) we look awful. We are seen to argue, to shake our (symbolic) personal fists at each other without (it seems to me) considering only the argument itself. We raise minute and irrelevant points of history before considering whether a given law to be considered or a given action performed is the correct one, the one to the service of the people. Yes, we do have to consider our history, our existing laws and our country’s traditions before taking final action – but these follow, not precede, our thinking about those individual policies and actions and judgements. In short, we visibly show hatred.
Government serves the people – and the people should have other things, more important things, to do outside of government. Our language, for example, is more important than our Laws: laws can change, and we already know them to be the choice of the people – but a language takes a long time to change, and it arises from the free choice of the people. Our cuisine is more important than our Monarch: monarchs can change (don’t we know this!), but the cuisine is the free and unfettered choice of the individuals within the country – citizens and visitors alike. Our game-playing is more important than our Ministries: ministries can be, and are, modified from time to time, but our game-playing is the arbitrary and personal choice of the players, who come together in fun: chess is more important than Home. Our interpersonal conversations are more important than our Laws: laws are modifiable, and we do – under much discussion – modify them, but our conversations are personal and free and arise out of friendship – chatting is more important than L’Annuntzia dels Legeux.
If we are to appear to be, and to actually be, a more adult and interesting country – a country which is welcoming to visitors, a country in which it is fun to be a citizen or a visitor – and a country which shows, in its cheerfully self-disciplined and tolerant cultural behaviour, that it cares about more in life than just narrow Talossanity, then we shall have to be more adult, more welcoming, more fun. Are we welcoming? Yes. Are we fun? Yes. Are we cultured? Yes. But our first appearance is that of being an exclusive country (not welcoming), a country which is governed by stress and discord (not fun), and a country that puts culture at a very poor second-best to its vituperative politics (not cultured).
Fellow citizens: play more, converse more, cook more, talk more and exchange more about language and painting and music and football and films and poetry and… insert long list here – each of you, individually can cheerfully add to this list. But argue less with personal conflict, show less personal animosity to executive activities. Show less hatred.
The function of Government is to serve the people. Be worth governing.