The Emperor’s New Suit- 2011 Edition
As I listen to everybody from the White House to the Congress to the media to Joe Public talk about the current coming “disaster” of the debt ceiling deadline I am reminded of a short story written in 1837 by Hans Christian Anderson called “The Emperor’s New Suit”. For those you unfamiliar, the story is about an all powerful Emperor who was very vain and loves his clothes above all else. And he has clothes for every occasion. He has jackets for dinner and for every other hour of the day. He is just obsessed with his clothes.
So one day some swindlers come to the city of the Emperor and convince everyone that they are weavers of the most magnificient cloth. It is so wonderous that its beauty can only be seen by those worthy of seeing such beauty. It is invisible to the common person. So they get hooked up with the Emperor and for a sum agree to provide him a suit of clothes from their special fabric. As they are fitting him with his suit he is so self absorbed with himself that he knows he worthy of this magnificient suit of clothes and complemented the weavers on every piece he put on. And the people who worked for and were expected to protect the Emperor just assumed that since the Emperor loved his new suit they just must not be worthy so they can’t see the magnificient fabric.
So the day for the Emperor to introduce his fabulous suit to the city came and a great parade was called to celebrate the Emperor’s new suit. And the Emperor proceeded to march down the main street of the city and parade in his new suit. And the people owwd and ahhd as he walked and the spoke of the magnificience of his new suit. As he came to the end of the parade a young boy stood with his father observing all that was going on and he said to his father- The last paragraph of this story can not be properly paraphrased so I pick up the story here and reprint it here as written by Mr. Anderson:
“But he has nothing on at all,” said a little child at last. “Good heavens!, listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But he has nothing on at all,” cried at last the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.” And the chamberlains walked with still greater dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.
Does anybody else see a parallel to the debt ceiling debate? Let’s substitute the federal government for the emperor. And let’s substitute the “debt ceiling crisis” with the new suit of clothes. And let’s, just for laughs, substitute Barack Obama and Timothy Geithner as the two swindlers/weavers. And yes, We The People are the people. And let’s substitute Congress for the little boy at the end of the parade. And we are just hoping that somewhere in the Congress, there are the guts that will stand up and say that the Emperor has no clothes. We The People are hearing the faint statements from some in Congress they see this and We The People are trying to tell them we see the Emperor has no clothes either, but the federal government and the swindlers are determined to take this to the end. Even when everybody else in the world knows they have no clothes.
If anyone feels I have taken untoward freedoms with the moral of Mr. Anderson’s short story please accept my sincere apologies.