Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Royal Trappings

The founders nurtured a great fear of royalty and royal titles, and royal trappings. Fearful that the British or some other royalists might try to set up a king in the former American colonies pushed the founders to ban congress from granting royal titles altogether. Article I, Section 9, last paragraph first sentence could not make it clearer how the founders detested the royalists: "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States." This sentence is one of my favorites in the whole constitution. Royalty never did any good for my family nor anybody else's in my view. Can you imagine the costs of keeping kings and queens and princes?

Thomas Jefferson championed no royal trappings in governmental functions. In 1797, he almost skipped his own swearing in as vice president because it reminded him of ceremonies too close to royal coronations he had seen in Europe. An important anniversary is coming up for our country. In preparing for his own inaugural on March 1 1801, Jefferson prepared by studying how his predecessors handled their inaugurals. He asked his cousin, Chief Justice John Marshall to administer the oath from the constitution as his presidential oath. Marshall had his own doubts as to how well Jefferson would do as president, but said he would be happy to do so. Marshall did just fine reading the oath and Jefferson did not have to be sworn in again like Obama listening to the oath read by a nervous and bumbling Roberts.

Jefferson studied how Washington handled his inaugural. He had a fine coach with six white horses, wore his uniform and sported his trusty military sword. Adams knocked the horses down to two. He wore a simple broad cloth suit. Adams wanted to be a "republican president in earnest." Jefferson wore a simple suit, no powered wig, no sword, and skipped the horses and carriage, decided to walk everywhere on his inauguration day. In his inaugural speech Jefferson paid homage to Washington. Jefferson called him "entitled." But not royally titled and remember some wanted Washington to be crowned king and thankfully he refused.

America still harbors a lot of royal sympathizers in our midst. I guess we could call them "closet monarchists." Remember the uproarious hurrahs greeting Queen Elizabeth II when she addressed the Virginia Legislature on a visit to her family's former colony. One could feel a movement back to England in the chamber. "Tell us what to do, your majesty, we are ready to line up," seemed to capture the royal love feast.

Now what has this got to do with the Denver Auditor's Office? This question is probably asked lots about many of my blog entries.

Firstly, auditors have to continually fight the attitude in many government employees, appointed and career service, that they are special and entitled to the trappings of their office. "I'm special, I'm entitled, I deserve my government car etc." You ought to hear the arguing over how many horse power vehicles are allocated to various agencies. People argue over desks, size, placement. Who has a window or not? It's like my kids shouting "shotgun" when we got in my old Buick.

So auditors should stand four-square with the Constitution, "No title of nobility." We must continually fight the culture of the special, the important, the puffed up, and the entitled. It saves taxpayers money to look for ways to change the culture of the special treatments afforded some government officials entitled to their special benefits thanks to the taxpayer's dime. I think this is why folks are so hopping mad at Congress. They are important and entitled. Check their health plans and their pensions. You will get my drift.

No comments: