A headline from Reuters confirms what we all know: “Barack Obama is revelling in presidential power and influence unseen in Washington for decades.”
Since we’re rolling back the clock on quaint traditions like democracy and free speech, I’d like to suggest we consider resuscitating an office that flourished in the age of monarchs. I mean the office of court jester.
Now that we have a President who requires instant acquiescence in his schemes to spend your money and realize his socialist dream, isn’t it prudent to assure that there is at least one person installed in the corridors of power who can whisper home truths into the President’s ear?
In the age of monarchy, indulging in free speech, especially on matters political, was a dangerous pastime. Kings, emperors, and others who proclaim that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” who actually believe that, with their ascension “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal” — such folks have a serious problem with hubris, not to say narcissism.
As anyone who can pronounce “Aeschylus” knows, hubris is followed regularly by nemesis, and it was to forestall that eventuality that monarchs of yore instituted the office of the court jester or fool. Here was one person allowed to speak his mind, to impart unpalatable truths to the sovereign. Queen Elizabeth (the first, not the one hugged by Michelle Obama) even rebuked her fool for not being sufficiently candid. (It was a narrow path, though, that the fool had to walk: Lear threatened to whip his fool for speaking free.)
The White House has not yet gotten around to announcing the position. That’s hardly surprising. They’ve been awfully busy these last 100 days and more, what with all that “spreading the wealth around,” taking over the auto industry, demonizing conservatives, setting terrorists free, plotting to nationalize health care, conspiring to impoverish us all not just by raising taxes but also through the ruinous cap-and-trade proposal that will cost the average household about $3,100 a year.
Obama is big on “mandatory” volunteerism and I am happy to do a stint here volunteering as an unpaid human resource consultant to the White House. Would-be jesters take note: you’ll have to supply your own motley. But anyone with an active sense of humor, common sense, and pragmatic political instincts is invited to apply for the position of White House Court Jester and Fool. Apply to: Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Fools, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington. D.C.