Perhaps it’s the egalitarian in me, but I’m absolutely thrilled that all of the hoopla and nonsense over the latest royal wedding is almost over. My feeling of elation no doubt stems from the fact that I view the whole concept of “royalty” as an anachronism, a holdover from an earlier time that we should have grown out of centuries ago. It also is a threat to democracy, as I shall endeavor to explain later.
The concept of a hierarchy among humans has in all likelihood been around since man crawled out of caves and began walking upright. Indeed, the Japanese monarchy, the Imperial House of Japan, is the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world, recognizing 125 monarchs beginning with the legendary Emperor Jimmu (traditionally dated to 11 February 660 BC) and continuing up to the current emperor Akihito. The fact that monarchies have been established in so many places on the globe — while some, like the czars of Russia and the French throne, were toppled — and continue going strong in some countries should not be seen so much as a testament to their legitimacy, but to the frailty of men and democratic institutions in general.
The genesis of the establishment of a pecking order was simple: One guy wanted to sit around on his fat ass while others did all of the heavy lifting — the sowing, reaping and other tasks that are required for human survival. This clever or strong dude convinced (or in many cases bullied) his fellow tribesmen into thinking that he was somehow better than them, and therefore should be treated accordingly. Thus the privileged class was born.
The pomp and circumstance, the purple robes and the jewelry would gradually come later as the rulers sought to devise ways to pass their accumulated power and privilege down to their progeny. Thus the concept of “birthright” was born.
In its ugliest manifestation, the rigid “caste” system was devised in India where resplendent maharajas rode around on tricked-out elephants while the vast majority of folks were left to scratch out survival by any base means available to them. While many other systems of hierarchy are more benevolent — think of the Saudi Royal family in particular — and others are mostly of a figurehead variety — such as the British and Japanese thrones — it’s the concept that’s frightening.
While we’ve never had a monarchy in America, many have longed for one over the years. George Washington was encouraged to make himself king, but was the wiser for not listening to the royalists among us.
But now we are faced with the threat of a form of monarchy once again in this country. The concept of the “strongman ruler” is something that many Americans are readily buying into out of fear of the “other.” And make no mistake — Donald Trump knows how to exploit that fear and use it to establish permanent rule by himself and his progeny, all in the name of saving the country. While some may consider this notion far-fetched today, simply watch what tomorrow brings.
From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.