America Expugnata?—What if the USA has been conquered by the Bush Family and their wealthy, well-armed hordes of fundamentalist, class-warriors? All great nations in the past have fallen; what would exempt us? England was conquered by a pretty authoritarian bunch in 1066, the Norman Invasion “and all that.” But down the years…centuries…the English managed to smooth many of the rough edges of Norman rule. Not all of them, yet. If you’re Irish or Catholic in most of Great Britain–nevermind Northern Ireland–you’re always looking over your shoulder. But all in all the UK takes better care of its needy than the US does. Parliament keeps the executive power there more accountable, with the system of the Loyal Opposition. A hereditary Chief of State means no Election 2000 fiascoes there! Until the last couple years a largely hereditary House of Lords kept some check on would-be dictatorial Prime Ministers. So did the Queen, who is said at the height of Thatcherism to have sought the counsel of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Runcie, about its morality! The House of Commons is more representative than our House of Representatives: an MP’s constituency is about one-tenth the size of a Congressperson’s. They do better with the principle of one person/one vote than we do with our disproportionate representation for small, rural, conservative states in the Senate and the Electoral College; they abolished their “rotten boroughs” over a century ago. Political parties still mean something there, you know what you’re voting for, or against. Multiple parties, too: In most of the last century it’s been the Conservatives or Labour, but a not insignificant place is held by the Liberal Democrats, even the Scottish Nationalists and Ulster Unionists. (Let’s not even mention the huge contributions to UK life and government–and satire!–by the Raving Monster Loony Party, without even being elected to Parliament! 😉
What I mean to say is that America is not without hope. We have a stronger democratic, egalitarian ethos than England, so maybe it won’t take a whole 800 years for us to re-democratize after the Coup of 2000, like England did, counting from the Norman Invasion to the political reforms of the 19th century. And over there, the best of the Common Law tradition, which pre-dates the Normans, survived and has been steadily making a comeback in courtrooms throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. But we may have a Dark Age. Though as an Irishman I know the so-called Dark Ages weren’t always so dark! But may God have mercy on us all….