Friday, August 17, 2012

Where were you when we were at Putney, Mr Romney?

We sit and we watch, cycle after electoral cycle, as the Republican Party in the United States puts forward as a candidate for the highest executive position in the republic, a theorist steeped in defiant ignorance of that office’s origins and the purposes of free government, and whose passion, to leave whose legacy, is to expand that sphere of ignorance insofar as it must govern this nation as a new and degenerate principle of representative government. What the last Administration did to the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment, the greatest masterpiece of human rights ever inscribed as law, can probably never be undone. And they are far from shy of bold ideas. 

Now we have, in the assertion by Mitt Romney, that the public interest in his disclosure of his financial condition is “Small-Minded,” more than a revolting reduction of the public interest to the voyeurism of Women’s Wear Daily. We have an assertion of policy, itself, that the people have no right to an understanding of who may be holding their offices and formulating, implementing and enforcing laws governing their lives.

Never mind that the enunciation of this new policy comes at a time when the Republican Party has conducted nationwide warfare against voters of slight or no connection to permanent physical addresses in the jurisdictions where the laws will bind them, wherever they may happen to sleep - under highway overpasses, in dormitories of seasonal occupation, on park benches, in some friend’s utility closet. Never mind, that the laws this Party is so anxious to precipitate intend to sever these identical people, from the protections of their own government; and never mind, that they may call in Rupert Murdoch's rednecks as cheerleader of their rectitude.

Ignoring, then, the convergence of the apparent hauteur in Mr Romney’s disdain for an informed electorate with his propagation of ignorance, itself, as a screen for these policies, what is striking is just how miserably credible his incompetence is in making his claim. It was rejected in the Puritan Revolution of 1647, having been given full airing and expression in debates of Cromwell’s Army at Putney. You and I did not have a finer education than Romney’s, but possibly he was out forcibly shaving the head of a fellow student that day, when his classmates were gathering with their preceptor to learn about where the doctrine of suffrage comes from in Anglo-American representative government. If he knew, we could hope he would not so boldly, so thrillingly entertainingly, so enchantingly masculinely propose to stamp it out.

Now I think it could not be more urgently pertinent to any voter’s consideration of policy, and certainly not more relevant to the consideration policy is likely to extend to him, for him to possess information respecting the financial condition of the man who demands the confidence of his vote. Mr Romney adheres to scruples which exalt the getting of riches and the founding of society upon them. It is reasonable, it is fundamentally sane and necessary, to know how he thinks this should be done. But Mr Romney has gone further than anyone in Presidential history, to offer his wealth as the reason for his elevation to that office. Let him exhibit it.

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