The following is a satire written of republican governments. As satires often do, it contains exaggerations and sarcasm, but also may offend. Caveat lector.
The Kingdom of Sventura was ruled by the Royal House of Speranza and had been for centuries. These centuries had been filled with corrupt politicians and gluttonous merchants, all of whom were in a never-ending battle to manipulate the naïve citizens of Sventura, to gain their hard-earned wealth and power. This corruption and gluttony had never reached the throne, however, for King Giustino and his consort, Queen Cordelia, were devoted to the service of the people. They alone could protect the people for the harsh effects of manipulative public officials. King Giustino, in fact, was one of the most popular kings the Kingdom of Sventura had ever seen having reformed the government, prevented smugglers from harming local and small business owners, pushed for reform in social welfare, and reduced tax-rates by eliminating the grotesque sums of money that the greedy politicians had been using for their personal gain. Queen Cordelia made every effort to be available to the people. She took a particular interest in the souls of her subjects and the well-being of the poor. Her young daughter, the beautiful Princess Izabella, was already taking an interest in charitable works under her mother’s loving guidance. The pious and noble royal family had only six years ago been blessed with the birth of their son and heir, Prince Donatello, an event which the good people of Sventura are still celebrating, having such high hopes for the playful and happy child who would one day, by the grace of God, reign as king.
In the Kingdom of Sventura, in a small village called Sbagliato, there lived a young man called Innocenzio. Innocenzio was a boy of passion, honesty, and simplicity. He had come of age and was free from the house of his father to start a life entirely his own. Innocenzio was not a man of cunning or sharp wit, but he had an eagerness to prove himself and make his mark in the world, especially if it would help him to win the heart of the beautiful Pomona. Pomona had been his first love, his first temptation, but she had grown bored with him. He was too common for her tastes and had no plan by which to make a name for himself.
Stricken with grief over the loss of his childhood romance, Innocenzio finds his way to the local pub to drink away his sorrow. As he sat at the bar with his glass, Innocenzio occupied his time by listening to a man who was speaking to a surprisingly large crowd. Innocenzio did not find the man particularly interesting. He spoke of politics, a topic which Innocenzio knew little of and had little interest in.
“He has cut off our trade by arresting smugglers,” the man roared. “He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the good of the government. He has refused to pass other laws allowing for the expansion of the powers of politicians, who are so obviously the only honest representatives of the people. He has forbidden us to elect judges, claiming that partisanship will sway them. He has allowed us to be taxed, claiming that we need money for maintaining infrastructure and defence. He has encroached upon our liberties by forbidding us to kill when it is necessary, to steal when it is necessary, and to lie when it is necessary. He maintains a class system on the grounds that men must be allowed to keep what they earn, even if the salaries of a doctor and a barman are disproportionate. A prince whose character is thus marked as a tyrant is unfit to govern a free people.”
Whatever the man was talking about, Innocenzio thought to himself, certainly has excited the people. Soon the crowd had poured out of the pub into the streets leaving the room empty and silent. The man who had delivered the address, however, lingered behind. He approached Innocenzio and bought him a drink.
“Hello, Comrade. I am Desiderio.” he stated, extending his hand.
“I am pleased to meet you, Desiderio, but my name is Innocenzio, not Comrade.”
“As you like it, Innocenzio. What did you think of my speech?”
“To be honest, I found it difficult to follow. I know nothing of politics or the affairs of Sventura.” Innocenzio answered sheepishly.
“Good,” Desiderio responded, “Allow me to inform you.”
Innocenzio, expecting him to be offended by his lack of understanding and interest, was surprised by Desiderio’s pleasure at his answer. At the promise of being treated to a free drink he consented to listen to Desiderio’s “lessons in politics”.
“The king is a bad man. He has all the power in the world and shares it with no one. He is a tyrant and a despot.” said Desiderio.
“But surely the king is not as bad as you say,” Innocenzio questioned. “Has he not allowed for an elected parliament?”
“He has, but the parliament may only pass laws. They may not levy war that we might gain glory for ourselves in battle. They may only pass laws that the king feels to be justice and righteous. A politician may not work for the benefit of his constituents because the king insists that we work for the good of the entire kingdom. How can be ever be re-elected if we must focus on the kingdom’s needs over the needs of our constituency?”
“I suppose this is true, but I am still not convinced,” Innocenzio answered.
“The king is not elected. Did you vote for the king?” demanded Desiderio.
“No, but I did not vote for parliament either,” Innocenzio responded.
“You might not have, but I did. Don’t I deserve the right to elect king? And furthermore, why can I not be king myself? Everyone knows that the elected politicians are put in power to serve the people. I myself am a politician. I live to serve the people honestly and without bias. Surely a king who is born into power is not so.”
“But what of the people who vote against you. Surely you can not represent their views as well as the views of those who support you.”
“Ah, but that is the beauty of republican government! The people who do not vote for me are in the minority. They do not matter.” retorted Desiderio.
“Well, this principle makes sense, I suppose, but what are you suggesting?”
“I trust you, my good friend Innocenzio. I am suggesting that we overthrow the monarchy in the name of the people and institute a republic where politicians shall rule by the people and for the people.” Desiderio smiled.
“I am not convinced that it is justified,” Innocenzio hesitated. “The monarchy still does not seem that terrible to me. We are not experiencing hardships in Sventura.”
“The king covers up the hardships. They are there, I assure you. My friend, how long has the monarchy been around?”
“As long as I can remember,” Innocenzio answered.
“The monarchy has been around since the founding of the Kingdom of Sventura over three hundred years ago. That means the king and his family have been ruling for over three centuries. That is far too long, my good, wise friend. The monarchy is like stale bread. It is like a pair of pungent socks in dire need of changing. The monarchy must go for the sake of progress, and progress we must have for the sake of progress.”
“I can see now that you are right,” said Innocenzio. “We must move forward or be left behind.”
“Precisely! And we shall be left behind if we do not, for all the neighbouring states are revolting against their own monarchies as well. It is clearly a mark of a civilised nation to revolt against the king.”
“What can I do for the cause?” Innocenzio asked eagerly, recalling Pomona’s craving for a man of adventure and importance.
“It is your duty as a good and noble citizen of Sventura to join the revolutionary army and help us abolish the monarchy,” Desiderio spewed.
With that the two men left the pub and joined the growing mob of rabble in the streets. They barrelled down the streets proclaiming a republic and trampling over anyone who stood in their way. Through carnage and blaze they marched on the capital, to the palace.
Innocenzio straggled behind, still not entirely certain what he was supposed to be doing. Suddenly he was awoken from his daydreaming by a call from one of his fellow citizens who was standing in the doorframe of one of the few buildings that had not yet been destroyed.
“What are you doing?” the man demanded, his voice cracking with emotion.
“I am going to the palace to overthrow the monarchy and institute a republic,” Innocenzio replied matter-of-factly.
“Why in God’s name would you do that?” the man, called Nemesio, wailed.
“Because he is a tyrant. Desiderio told me so.”
“Is that a fact?” Nemesio cried. “My dear boy, don’t you have any idea who Desiderio is?”
“He is an honest politician. He is a parliamentarian who care only for the well-being of the people of Sventura. He told me so.”
“And so he would have told you. Desiderio is the most crooked man this great nation has ever seen. He bought his way into parliament by paying voters and promising the unattainable. He is a power-hungry zealot. Do you know why he would have you overthrow the king?”
“Because the king is a tyrant. He told me so.” replied Innocenzio.
“The king is not a tyrant. The king is the only person standing between Desiderio and more power. The king is the voice of the people. The king is not swayed by partisan as is Desiderio.”
“Desiderio says that in a republic the minority opinion is of no consequence and that dissidents do not matter. That is the beauty of a republic.” Innocenzio argued.
“My son, in a monarchy all people matter. No human is of less significance than the next. The king loves all his people and treats them the same regardless of how they vote. Desiderio cares only for the wants of those who put him into power, not for the needs of the kingdom. He would end your life if the majority was in favour of such an act.” pleaded Nemesio.
“Monarchy is out of date. Republican governments are fashionable throughout the region. Look around us. All our neighbouring nations are doing the same as I.” Innocenzio stated.
“And what do you know about that? To the north of us they have slain over half of their population in the name of their republic. To the east they have doubled tax rates in the name of their republic. To the south they have sank into inefficiency. Their republic has divided their people and has since been unable to pass any laws or come to any decision. To the west the republic has failed and a dictator has come to power who has ruined the economy, enslaved the people, and committed genocide. All this in the name of republics!”
“Have monarchs never committed such atrocities?” Innocenzio asked.
“There have been evil sovereigns in history, but it is illogical to suggest on those grounds that monarchy is a poor form of government. Our modern monarchy is not evil. We have today an enlightened sovereign as do most monarchies today. We will not have the liberties we have now under a republic.”
“You are a fool. Why do you uphold the status quo? Are you a radical conservative? Are you a fascist?” Innocenzio demanded.
“My poor misguided friend, it is you who is part of a violent effort to topple the government, not I. Who is the radical?”
“You are an enemy of the republic. I think I will report you to Desiderio.” Innocenzio jeered.
Innocenzio brought Nemesio to Desiderio and explained to him Nemesio’s obviously skewed political ideologies. Upon hearing this, Desiderio ordered a rope and had Nemesio hanged. Innocenzio was shocked by the brutality and horrified at the sight of the execution that had taken place before his very eyes.
“Citizen Innocenzio, there is no place for free thought in a republic. If we have dissidents how will we accomplish anything? We can not have a stable republican government by the people and for the people if they do not want it, thus we must do away with those who do not want it.” Desiderio reassured.
This logic soothed Innocenzio’s doubts and they proceeded through city to the palace. As they approached the palace, Desiderio armed Innocenzio with a gun and told him to defend the republic at any cost and to remember that dissidents have no place in a republic.
By the time Innocenzio had arrived at the palace the glorious army of the republic was already hard at work. Most of the men were filling their arms with riches and fleeing back to their homes to hoard it. Then Innocenzio spotted Desiderio and a small group of armed men escorting the royal family out of the palace.
King Giustino was carrying his young son, Prince Donatello, while Desiderio escorted him at gun-point. Queen Cordelia, also held at gun-point, marched into the streets with great dignity and great sorrow. Her daughter, Princess Izabella was dragged into the streets by her long, beautiful hair by a pair of savage revolutionaries who proceeded to grope her.
“Giustino, you and your family have been declared enemies of the republic and it is the will of the people that you be executed,” Desiderio shouted.
Hearing this, Princess Izabella let out a shriek, Queen Cordelia crossed herself, and Prince Donatella, in his last act on earth, turned to kiss his father on the cheek.
“Fire!” Desiderio barked.
At this command ever revolutionary in earshot, out of love for his nation, fired his gun at the royal family. Bullets whizzed in every direction. They hit the defenceless family causing them a good deal of pain. Several rounds later, they were final killed. The glorious revolutionary army dug through the prince’s pockets in search of valuables and tore the dresses from the bodies of the queen and princess to jeer at the naked corpses before they unceremoniously deposited the remains in an abandoned mineshaft.
“Long live the republic!” Desiderio cheered!
Innocenzio knew that these people had been enemies of the republic and that there is no place for dissidents in republican governments, but nonetheless the graphic violence he had just witnessed disturbed him. He decided to wander the city in hopes of getting his mind off of it. His exploration did little to sooth him.
The city had gone mad. There were riots in the streets, burning buildings, and pillaging revolutionaries. As he passed the local pub which had begun to catch fire, a drunkard called Bardolph stumbled out.
“Hey, you!” he called to Innocenzio.
Innocenzio looked at him.
“Which side are you for then?” Bardolph demanded.
“I am part of the glorious republican army,” Innocenzio responded.
“Good,” Bardolph hiccoughed. “Do you- Do you want to know why I don’t support the king?”
“Why not?” Innocenzio sighed.
“Because he taxes ale and won’t let me be drunk in the streets. The monarchy requires men to behave in a ‘civilised’ manner. The republic lets me hang loose. I need not be a gentleman to ladies in the street now, nor must I work in the day. Why should I work? To benefit the kingdom? The monarchy is dead. The republic will distribute the wealth evenly and I can drink my equal share away. Then when the barman becomes a billionaire, the republic can redistribute the wealth, taking from the rich barman and giving to the poor: me!” Bardolph sneered, jabbing his thumbs into his chest causing himself to vomit.
Innocenzio hurried away to another street. He passed the church where he had attended as a child. It had been ransacked an striped of its valuables in the name of the republic. Father Zadok sat sobbing on the steps.
“Why are you crying, Father?” Innocenzio asked.
“They have defiled the house of God,” the priest whimpered.
“But, Father, surely it is for a greater good. The gold from the church will fund the republic.”
“The gold from the church will find its way into the pockets of the corrupt. The people will not see a single penny.” Father Zadok cried.
“Father, won’t God be pleased that we are establishing a more fair government for the people?” Innocenzio offered.
“My son, have you no understanding of divine right? God himself appoints kings as his representatives on earth.”
“You don’t believe that superstition, do you?” Innocenzio asked.
“Innocenzio, who decides who is born and who is not?”
“God, of course.”
“So then if kings are born, who decides who will be the next king when the old one dies? God, child! Further still, who decides when the old king’s term has finished? God! God is called King of Kings, not of republics. A king rules by the grace of God. Kings are the Lord’s anointed. You have slain the Lord’s anointed viceroy!” Father Zadok sobbed.
Hearing dissidence in the distance, Desiderio appeared at Innocenzio’s side.
“You should not be swayed by religious zealots, Innocenzio. Religion is for the weakness. It will hold you back.” said Desiderio.
He then proceeded to run the good priest through with a bayonet, killing him.
“Come now, Innocenzio, let us go have some fun.” Desiderio smiled at his now fearful friend. '
“Desiderio, I am concerned,” Innocenzio began.
“Innocenzio, I want you to call me President now, not Desiderio,” Desiderio insisted sternly.
“But we have not held an election, have we?” asked Innocenzio.
“I held an election a few hours ago among my newly appointed officers of the grand republican army. I ran unopposed and was elected to lead the republic.”
“Oh,” Innocenzio sighed.
“Cheer up, Comrade. Have a look over there at that beautiful woman. Why not go and enjoy yourself? We are victorious, after all.”
Looking in the direction Desiderio had pointed, Innocenzio spotted Pomona. Seeing her made his cares melt and his heart flutter. He rushed to her.
“Pomona! Look what I have become for you! I am a part of the republic!” he offered cheerfully.
“I can see full well what you have become, Innocenzio. You are a monster.” Pomona snarled.
“I do not understand. You wanted me to make a name for myself, to be part of something. I have done this for you.”
“You have murdered for me? You have ruined the kingdom for me? If that is the case then I do not wish to live.” Pomona retorted.
“But Pomona, things will be better under the republic. A republic is a better form of government than a monarchy. It is far better to have our lives in the hands of honest politicians than in the hands of powerful sovereigns.”
“You think so, do you? Have you no brains? Never has there been an honest politician and even if there was one the corrupt political system would weed him out. Do you know that if you stood up to your friend ‘the president’ right now he would shoot you on the spot?”
“That isn’t so, Pomona. Please don’t be this way.”
“Innocenzio, you have been misled. A prince is raised to rule. He is taught from his birth the affairs of the state. Like a blacksmith teaches his craft to his son, so does a king teach his craft to the prince who will one day rule with experience a politician could never have. It is like an old family recipe, passed down for generation and perfected through time. How can a republic offer anything to compare to that?”
“I don’t know,” Innocenzio frowned.
“A kingdom is ruled by a loving family. The king is father to all his people, for he strives to help them improve themselves, he takes care of them, and he watches them grow into good people. A king does not rule a nation, he raises it. He loves it like a son. By killing your king you have committed regicide as well as patricide. May God have mercy on us. Innocenzio, what have you done?”
“Go away, Innocenzio! I never want to see you again!” Pomona shouted.
Innocenzio stormed off, tears flooding his eyes. His vision blurred, he ran straight into Desiderio and toppled over backward.
“Innocenzio, what is the matter?” Desiderio asked.
“She refused me. She never wants to see me again. She reprimanded me for supporting the republic,” Innocenzio sobbed.
“What right does she have to refuse you? You may have her if you want her. She is yours. Go take her,” Desiderio suggested.
“President, she is a person, not an object for my possession. Does she have no rights? This is, after all, a republic. We must rule for the people.”
“She is in the minority, a dissident. Dissidents are not people.” Desiderio growled.
“No!” Innocenzio cried. “You are a monster!”
Innocenzio fled from the tyrant. He fled for his life, for he knew that if Desiderio caught him now he too would be killed. He stormed down the winding roads until he could run no longer. He sought asylum in an abandoned bakery. As he caught his breath, he heard rustling in the kitchen.
“Who is there?” he demanded.
Upon investigating he found a poor man scrounging for leftover food in the kitchen. His clothes had been torn to shreds and he looked quite dishevelled.
“Are you well?” Innocenzio asked the man.
“I am not, sir,” the man responded. “I am called Volney. I have been reduced to nothing by the corruption of politicians and the revolution. My house has been burned, my property seized, and my wife carried off by savage revolutionaries. My children, taking opposing sides, killed one another. I am left with nothing.”
“Can I help?” Innocenzio begged, hoping for some way he might redeem himself.
“There is little you can do, friend. Once power is placed in the hands of politicians they will demand more. There is no getting it back. Soon all our liberties will be gone. The king is no longer here to protect us, to serve us. And without someone in the government who actually cares for us, I am left to starve. The king provided care for the lowly and downtrodden. The republic will serve only itself.”
“Can nothing be done for us, sir?” Innocenzio pleaded.
“Nothing can be done here, friend. It is too late. Things will improve. The government will realise it needs the people to raise food for them and to be taxed. It will establish schools and hospitals and enough infrastructure to keep us alive and productive. They will reap what we sow and we will let them. Their schools will teach our children that monarchies are evil and that republics are just and righteous and there will be no one willing to mount an insurrection. After all, what politician will restore the monarchy when without it their power is unlimited? Men desire power and money. The king was all that stood in the way of that. Why would they bring him back?”
“Then we must flee to another monarchy,” Innocenzio suggested hopefully.
“We could do that, but there are politicians everywhere. Very soon the other monarchies will fall victim to the want, gluttony, and lust of men. All we can do is live until we are brought to heaven, the only kingdom that can never be destroyed by republics.”
“But we must try to stop this. There must be something we can do to bring justice back to the world. Anything,” pleased Innocenzio.
“We must always work towards the reinstitution of monarchies the world over. We must educate those who do not understand the merits of monarchy. But until we have a strong resistance to the great evil that is republicanism, until we can stop their propaganda machine, until all the people of the world decide they have had enough, nothing will change. We will continue to elect the most corrupt people to lead us. Only those who can cheat, lie, and steal make it to the ballot and those few innocents that do make the ballot are corrupted the moment they are given an office.” Volney explained.
Innocenzio could bear no more of this. He would not stand by and watch the people enslave themselves under the ruse of democracy. He could stand the guilt no longer and promptly gobbled arsenic.