Written by Muldonny McVriw

Friday, 11 September 2009

image for The tall dwarf of Oleander - a fable

Somewhere far off in the land of In-Between, there existed a mystical kingdom. It's lands stretched from the waters of Taramac to the shores of Coriander. This kingdom, The Kingdom of Oleander was known far and wide as the land of liberty, and was celebrated for the renowned cheerfulness and generosity of its citizens. This mystical kingdom was indeed, a very special place, it was, in fact, a nation of dwarfs, but the one thing which made it especially remarkable was that it had an elected king, rather than one that ruled by birthright. Every eight years an election was held, after which, a duly elected candidate was elevated to the Office of King and according to law, any citizen who was married, had passed the age of forty years, and was born in the kingdom, could be put up for election; however, once elected, a sitting king could serve only one, eight year term.

As the story is told, a sitting king had become very unpopular with a large number of the population, and they often demonstrated their perceived grievances by vocal dissension, via the public forum. Now, during the final two years of the king's reign, many contenders came forward to offer themselves up as candidates for the coming election. Among the many who stepped forward, one candidate appeared that was relatively unknown and seemingly came from out of nowhere; remarkably, he was an unusually tall dwarf. He was, in fact, six feet tall; whereas, the average dwarf stood only four and a half feet; regardless of this anomaly, in a very short time, this candidate captured the hearts and minds of a vast number of the populace. His popularity soon crossed all socio-economic boundaries, and garnered an enthusiastic following from a broadly diverse group of people.

As this candidate traveled the kingdom with his campaign, his supporters, with their smiling faces and bright shining eyes, could be seen everywhere he went, and whenever he stepped onto a podium, his natural, easy going demeanor immediately disarmed an audience, and as they beheld his wit and charm, they seemed to literally bask in the radiated glow of his countenance. They demonstrated their admiration and affection with exuberant displays of applause, singing and speech making. They were thoroughly enthralled by his oratory, which instilled them with confidence and attracted new supporters wherever he made an appearance.

Yes, this charismatic and handsome young man had come along with a new message, offering a new direction, a fresh view and a bold new start. Here was a man who made people feel good about the future. Finally, a leader had come along that the new revisionist leadership, within the bi-cameral parliament, could get behind and support. They saw an opportunity that would finally allow them to initiate the progressive changes they had been struggling to implement for so long.

This young man who would be king, indeed, did become the duly elected king, and once in office, he immediately began a campaign to initiate the changes that would come to represent his reign. The very first item undertaken was to transform the kingdom's reputation amongst the other nations within the world community. His stated intention was to bring the kingdom back into the world community's good graces. He wished for Oleander to be as one with them and one amongst them.

As this new king began to initiate his plans, some members of the opposition began to criticize his plans as possessing rather radical overtones, and as one initiative precipitated another, concern amongst the populace, also, began to grow. The widely held perception being that the new proposals posed a threat to core democratic principles.

Soon, growing criticism began to be heard from some of the most outspoken of the citizenry. The dissension began in the public arena, and as a result, a number of the king's supporters and allies quickly came to the king's defense and dismissed such criticism as being misinformed and unjustified. They branded the rhetoric as just baseless attacks organized by power based opponents. Some of the king's allies went so far as to state that some people just could not bear having a tall dwarf as king. The parliamentary leadership then labeled such dissent as undemocratic and as purely packaged propaganda, designed to stir up groups of malcontents whose sole purpose was to disrupt the process, derail the king and ultimately force him from office. They further insisted that these few were not representative of the wider population.

In just a short time, fear and mistrust had begun to stalk the kingdom; it was true, fear and suspicion began to take hold in the minds of a growing number of the populace. Concerned citizens were beginning to fear that there might be an unseen agenda at the heart of the new initiatives. A ground swell had begun at the grass roots level and was rising throughout the kingdom. More and more people, via the public forum, were asking for full disclosure to many of their unanswered questions. There was also growing concern, at this time, by some opposition leaders that the new regime's plans gave little regard to the tenets of the historic charter, that had defined the kingdom's governance since its inception. They feared that the great historic document was seemingly, being given short shrift by the new initiatives. Some of the opposition leadership began to see the initiatives as being in violation of the law, as defined by The Charter. But there were also some very vocal allies of the king who publicly maintained that The Charter, as written, was defined by the mores and values of an evolving society, that The Charter was viable only so long as it served the people who were there to interpret and apply those definitions. They went on to state that The Carter was only useful as a guide and not as a determining factor in deciding the direction that succeeding generations would be obliged to follow.

Throughout its history, Oleander had, indeed, endured its share of leaders that had taken liberties with its historic charter, Bending its tenets to fit their own interests and sometimes influencing its legal interpretation to accommodate actions that were never intended by its framers; however, The Charter was always respected, never denigrated, but this new regime and its allies seemed to be offering up a potential threat to The Charter's very validity and continued existence. Thus, based upon this perception, the new regime's critics saw a distinct possibility that a president was about to be set for which there could be no return.

So it was, regardless of an outpouring of dissension and disapproval, the king was able to implement all his initiatives, even as his popularity declined and support for Parliament sunk lower and lower. Soon, the regime began to take more and more control of everyday life within the kingdom. Freedom of movement was restricted, currency was devalued, freedom of the press was curtailed, election and polling laws were changed, taxes were raised, and the regime grew ever larger. Discontent and protest became rampant, but all discord was quelled and civilian discipline was enforced by a paramilitary, civilian instituted, security defense force.

By the end of the king's eight year reign, the kingdom had become a member of a new world community, a new world currency was adopted, the military was placed under the authority of a newly created world military organization, and a change in The kingdom's charter was implemented, which allowed a sitting king to reign for multiple consecutive terms, and as the once great and shining light, that was the Kingdom of Oleander, faded into history, the once cheerful and generous people who were the avowed champions of liberty, quietly took their place as citizens in a new world order.


Moral: beware the full barrel with a false bottom.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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