Friday, October 3, 2014

Who Gets to Be On Top? The Timeless Class Structure of Court Politics

Oh, we don't have a class structure anymore. Not in America. There are no titled lords, kings, queens, knights or even those that are called servants.  That is something that belongs to the storied past we so often visit when we read those historical romances we all adore. Right?

You had better think twice. How often do we hear of the Bush fortune?  Or even the Clintons?  In a land where every child is told they can grow up to be president how true is that? It seems it requires a great deal of wealth in order to attain the highest office in the country. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a hierarchy left to those with less money.  There always has been--even into the storied past of Europe's curious system of nobility and royalty.

In politics, whether we speak of the one in charge of a country or even the servant at the top of the food chain in a great house, there is always a class struggle. The butler has managed through hard work and hopefully a sense of fair play to claw his way to the top of the servants quarters. He is no longer seen as a mere footman, or worse--a chimney sweep.  He now had the comforts associated with his new designation in life; a comfortable chair, perhaps his own fireplace and even a fairly soft, clean bed.  Let's not forget the notoriety of being the single person in charge of the comings and goings of this great house--who his master invited to stay after supper this evening.

But dare he think of rising past his place into the House of Lords? No, of course not. That belongs to yet another being. One born on silk sheets.  And yes, the un-named baron will be accepted into his assigned place amongst his entitled brethren. However, the larger question is how shall he stay there? Has he truly achieved his status in life, or is he only on borrowed time?

For yes, money will buy you the spot at the head of the table, but it won't keep you there. The butler knows that. Something greater is required to maintain your spot within the greater society. You've got to make friends and at least know how to obtain the kind of information that will ensure their loyalty.  Ah...loyalty. This is the thing that wins votes, or swords, or simply a polite nod at a ball.

Garnering your loyal friends is truly how the class structure has always worked. There will always be a single person at the top of the food chain--no matter what their appellation might be. Whether we speak of the ladies of the court, those serving as pages to the great men, or yes, the one person elected to the highest office in the country.  A single person will hold in their hands the knowledge, and thus own the ability, to humble those who stand on the next tier down ensuring the loyalty of all those beneath him.

Perhaps the most apt phrase when considering this pyramid of political hunger is, "What goes up must come down."  For somebody on that bottom step is likely to whisper a secret that will shake the entire foundation, bringing those on top crashing to their end.

However, watching those that climb to the top is perhaps the most entertaining sport of all time. What glamour to be found! What lies will be uncovered? Best of all--who will be dragged down by their own hubris? When that pinnacle is vacant, what then? The inevitable next step--the next person who has built the respect and loyalty of those around him will ascend, reestablishing the symmetry of the world.  

Leaving just one on top.  How utterly delicious.

Thanks for joining me on my Bewitched Book Blog Tour! S.D. Grady is celebrating the release of her latest novel "The King's Mistress."
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