in Politics

Who Wants to be a Serf?

Originally posted 11-21-2011.

The HBO series “Pillars of the Earth” depicted the hellish existence of serfs and peasants in the Middle Ages with depressing reality. Life was grim for the poor.

After considering our current economic situation, I am beginning to wonder if we are taking steps backwards into the Middle Ages. I see scary similarities between the feudal structure and our current situation.

Kings owned land and ruled by what they held as “divine right”, granted by God and passed on through heredity.

Currently a number of our political candidates seeking nomination state they are “being called” (one can presume by a higher power). These statements stop short of declaring “divine right”.

Kings had to have some means to control and formed contracts with barons and lords who developed fiefs and made the rules and regs for running their kingdoms.

Our baron and lord counterparts are the legislature. Lobbyist, wealthy corporations and individuals contribute to the political campaigns of those who are in a position to pass legislation favorable to them.

While our legislators do not publicly hold court while bouncing a fetching maid on one knee and gnawing on a gigantic chicken leg, one can only wonder what may happen on some of the jaunts hosted by corporations. Is it possible a manor will be quietly bestowed to legislators who garner favor?

I see other striking similarities to what one might find at the King’s court in the Middle Ages. There is certainly no shortage of candidates for court jester. John Boehner’s Ted Cruz’ facial contortions are legendary. He can emote “comedy” or “tragedy” in a nanosecond.

Serfs lived on the manor and provided labor to produce everything that was required for running the fief. Approximately ninety percent of the people who lived in the Middle Ages were considered peasants.

According to an article appearing in The New York Times, September 13, 2011:
“Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.”

The Occupy Wall Street movement, for the most part, lacks a clear mission statement.It would appear their primary goal is to call attention to economic inequality and corporate greed.

But, before we rebuke those who are involved, ask yourself if you’d want to be a serf.