Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember remember.

One day after Florida passed, by a large majority, a constitutional  amendment designed to put some rational limits on gerrymandering, two Republican congressmen sued to have it overturned. The next day we learned that the county mayor who was instrumental in securing what amounts to a $350 million gift to an already profitable baseball teams and a 13% raise for county lawmen -- both in a county struggling to keep the lights on -- received $50,000 each from the team and the police union to help him fight off a recall. So today is a fitting day to remember the last person to enter parliament with honest intentions, and to note that that was 405 years ago.

A proponent of the school of politics that holds that there is no problem which cannot be solved by a suitable application of high explosives, after the authorities encouraged his confession, Guy was supposed to be hanged until not quite dead, then drawn and quartered. But he thwarted the plan by jumping from the gallows and breaking his neck.

You rarely see that level of commitment anymore. Hell, only about 40% of us bothered to vote this week.

And so:

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !

A penny loaf to feed ol'Pope,*
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar,'
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol'Pope is dead.

*Despite the desire of later commentators to attribute Fawkes' actions to pure civic-mindedness, the best evidence is that Fawkes, a member of the repressed English provincial Catholic minority,actually attacked in support of -- and perhaps at the direction of -- Catholic Spain, for whom he had once enlisted against the Dutch. (Although some have suggested this was a false flag attack, arranged to steel English determination.) Sadly, this makes it harder to use him as a simple symbol of fierce resistance, and ranks him more reasonably in the company of religious terrorists. So it has always been in public discourse -- no perfect men.

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