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Pot, Kettle Black - an Essay on Hypocrisy
[01/23/2002] [Snicker Furfoot]

The following editorial does not in any way represent the opinions of the people who choose to post or forward it. It's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

ol·i·gar·chy n. Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families.

For nearly 20 years now, Amtgard has grown but never prospered, expanded but never thrived. Like a patch of grass struggling vainly to survive in the desert, it's only a matter of time before someone decides to zeroscape it. In this case that someone is John Donelly, aka Aramithris of Meadowlake, would-be tyrant-king of Amtgard. For the past 2 decades, ever since he wrested control from the real founding fathers (Tawnee, Nashomi, Heimdale, Gilos, Andralaine, and the rest) he has dedicated his life to running things. From near-nonstop rulership of the Burning Lands (a shire-sized Kingdom in El Paso, Texas, notable only for being the hometown of the REAL creator of Amtgard: James H. Haren, aka Peter La Grue), to his total domination of Claw Legion (once known as Ghee's Raiders) until its eventual split into Archon, to his most recent assertion that only HIS group is fit to rule over everyone, JW has proven that his lust for power far exceeds his ability to temper that with wise rule. Any man can wield power - it takes a truly wise one not to. At the same time, anyone who challenges that power is met with jabs at their inadequacies, petty sniping, and general lashing out at anything around them.

The current situation between the Burning Lands and the Wetlands is a perfect example of this.

Now before you get into semantics about how it's not the BL, it's the BLBOD, I'd like to point out something: The BLBOD is the same people (with one or two exceptions) who have been ruling the Burning Lands in one form or another for the last 18 years. They have a voting quorum of less than 20 people - which basically means if all of Archon, Aramithris' own company, shows up and votes, whoever they decide to vote for wins. So, while I acknowledge that there are good people in the Burning Lands, they are, for the most part, not the ones in power, and have very little say in the matter.

As I was saying, the current situation between the Burning Lands and the Wetlands is a perfect example of JW's hypocrisy. Here we have an instance of a perfectly legitimate action by a Kingdom that only wishes to rule itself without interference, but for some reason, JW felt the need to put his foot into it. Now, for the last six years, the Wetlands has abided by a Corpora signed and authorized by the BLBOD, back in a time when there were more than just Archon running things. That Corpora had eliminated what the founding members saw as a major flaw in the Amtgard system: the "buddy Knighting," whereby person "A" gets all of his friends to support him in getting crowned, then uses that crown to get his buddies their belts. Every Kingdom has had its share of "buddy Knightings," and the Wetlands Confederacy simply wanted to avoid making the same mistakes that the other Kingdoms had. So, for the last six years, no King has dropped the sword in our Kingdom. Instead, a body of people who have already "passed the test" as it were, choose in private who shall next become a member of their coveted Circle. To most this might seem a terrible abuse of power - a self-perpetuating oligarchy, a "star chamber" if you will, but in practice, it has turned into something far greater. What organization would willingly accept its loudest opponents, rewarding those who seek to dig at the very flaws in its system? Yet, in the short time that I have been here, I have witnessed no fewer than 4 Knightings of those who would never have had a chance in any other Kingdom. That is hardly a closed Circle. The Kingdom of the Wetlands has a system that works. It may not work for everyone. Heck, it may not work a year from now! But the fact is, it does work for us, and we voted (overwhelmingly) to keep it that way.

Despite this, despite the fact that the BLBOD ratified our Corpora as it stood six years ago, and despite the fact that our system works, Aramithris immediately demanded that we change, or he would revoke our contract. This has been his mantra ever since. We have made every attempt to compromise, even in the midst of terrible tragedy (the plane crashes on Sept 11 last year happened just a few short days after this fit hit the shan.) This Kingdom even voted (which was one compromise that JW had asked for.) In spite of this, and in spite of the fact that it was overwhelmingly voted against by a populace that outnumbers his own by more than ten to one, JW continues to hold to that. We even went so far as to send a diplomatic mission to the latest BLBOD meeting, wherein we were basically told that "only the Burning Lands can modify The Corpora" and that we had to give our populace one last time to change its collective mind and do whatever JW bids us to do, or be kicked out of Amtgard. We've been accused of everything from destroying the dream, to cardboard knightings, to having a mysterious subversive Oligarchy which is not only passing out belts only to its friends, but is also apparently writing a new manual (which is about damned time - I'm tired of waiting for JW's "vision"). I have three words for that:


In other words, JW, if you want to find a real oligarchy, just look in your own backyard. Literally.

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