~ Political Lore as viewed by Xilan Horidre in Dark Ages, Deoch 9.
It is a well-known fact that politics is as much a part of Temuair as hunting, practicing the abundance of skills, or the spirit of the Aisling itself. There is much to be learned when it comes to the political domain of Temuair. I cannot give you pictures of this and that, but what I can give you is information of every office (or advice from someone that has attained it) and what it takes to be a great politician (no, it's not an oxymoron.) In this piece, the political structure will be examined, the offices within, and the processes of politics. I aim to teach as well as to please with this piece; I hope you enjoy as well as learn.
Table of Contents
I. Political Structure
II. Being an Officer and Doing it Well
I. Political Structure
There are 2 divisions to the government. On one hand, you have the Legislative Branch. The Legislative Branch, to be frank, legislates. One of their main duties is writing laws. They also have other responsibilities which will be clarified later on in this piece. Secondly, there is the Judiciary/Enforcement Branch. This Branch essentially enforces those laws which have been established by the Legislative Branch. The political system is a mix of a democratic method, as well as aristocratic. You are elected by your peers. Not anyone and everyone can become a politician, much less a high official, however. Most people that are well-known within the government are elders. This does not mean that you should be discouraged in attempting to gain office. It is possible, but much more difficult to attain office without a well-known name, just as politics in any otherworldly land. In either case, you should have sound judgement as well as a sound state of mind before entering politics.
The method in which an official is elected is through the use of ‘clout.' Clout, by definition is usually along the lines of "respect within a community". It is similar in Temuair; however, the clout is actually measured and numbered. With this clout, you attain office, as well as remain in office. Opposite of attaining office of your own, you can attack opponents, as well as remove others from office with your clout. This is a great way to utilize your clout without being an active political official. (Refer to 1A for further clarification.)
The structure of the political system is step-wise. You gradually earn respect, as well as higher office and more responsibility. This is done through your actions, and spreading your name and legend throughout the community. In both Branches, the higher the office, the more responsibility comes with it. All offices (with the unfortunate exception of Judge) are signified by uniform. Respected Citizen is not an office. THE UNIFORM IS NOT REASON ENOUGH FOR THE OFFICE. I felt the emphasis on that point was necessary for two reasons. One, many people feel it is reason enough, and assume office for that reason only. Two, it will only be detrimental to our society as a whole, if we have officials who could care less about their station and more about their societal garb. If you're in office for the uniform, it is usually obvious and you may find yourself removed either way. It's a wise thing to say that you should not even bother assuming office without noble intent.
Recently, the structure of the system was changed drastically. All political actions require political assistants. These actions include those which Cedric, the Burgess of Mileth, or Eduardo, the Rucesion Burgess (from here on, these will be referred to as the Political Agents) help administer. These assistants must have at least a small amount of clout (1) to their name for each planned assist. Also, some of the civic action is administered by Aingeal in the Mileth Tavern, or Angelo, the higgler/banker of Rucesion. (From here on, these will be referred to as the Civic Agents) Also, everyone within close vicinity can see, and hear your political actions. This is a good idea in some respects, as it is good that everyone can see who you are trying to attack or remove. This can be helpful so there is proof, as well as other witnesses, in case a less than desirable situation arises. With widdling, however, there is no need for the entire town hall to know of your actions.
A. Clout Accumulation and Usage
Clout, by definition is usually measured along the lines of respect within a community. It is similar in Temuair; however, the clout is actually measured and numbered. With this clout, you are able to attain office, as well as remain in office. In addition to attaining office, you can attack opponents, or even remove other unfit officials from office with your clout. This is a great way to utilize your clout without being an active political official. All Aislings are entitled to earn, hold, and use clout.
a. Gaining Clout
There are a number of ways to gain clout. The most common and most effective, of course, would be from your peers. It is considered bad politics to ask everyone that happens to pass by for their support, and it will often gain you the title of a ‘vote-beggar.' There is no law against this, but many Aislings have been, and will continue to be removed from office for this method of attaining office. When you show the community you are worthy of support, you will gain it easily without having to ask.
Building relationships with Aislings is the most effective way to gain clout. Of course, never befriend someone with the intention of using them only for their supporting capability. Your friends, however, will be solid supporters if you express to them your desire to attain office and make a difference. They will also be the ones most likely to help you remain in that office. Finally, there is the mundane support. Mundanes award clout for your submissions to their libraries. In certain cases, they also reward you with clout for other contributions to the community. It is always a good practice to maintain good standing relations with the Mundanes. The rewards for their community contests are as follows:
The clout awarded for each category is signified by the level of the award. The contests are categorized by their relevant political connection. I personally believe Philosophy should be more important than History, as a Philosopher represents a great thinker. While literature can sometimes be a great or beautiful story, or biographies and art may hold a great significance to an individual, or even the community, they do not have as much political relevance, if any.
b. Clout Usage
When it comes to using clout that you have acquired, there are a number of ways to make use of it. There is the obvious point of obtaining a political office yourself. Unfortunately, most Aislings are not cut out for politics, due to the stress it causes, and the effort it takes to make your township a better place, one step at a time. You can also ensure that other officials remain in office. This is done through endowment. Endowment is the only method which can be employed in this manner; you use your own clout to boost the clout of an official of your choice. By using a hefty sum of your own clout (10), the citizen you wish to support receives a nice amount (7) as well. This process requires an assistant, of course, and is conducted in the presence of Cedric/Eduardo, or with the use of the Mileth or Rucesion Politics spell. This spell is granted to Demagogues, Burgesses, and first-time Respected Citizens. It is a remote way of performing the same actions you would in the town hall, if you happen to be away on other business.
Of course, there are more positive, or even negative uses for your clout as well, whichever the case may be. These 2 processes would be widdling and attacking. Widdling is a partially secretive process in which a small bit of the widdler's clout (2) is expended to decrease the opponent's clout (1). If Cedric assists in this process, everyone in the town hall can overhear who you are widdling. On the other hand, the victim does not know who is dwindling their clout. The more secretive Aislings find someone with the Mileth or Rucesion Politics spell that they can trust. This way, they have an assistant as well as a choice of locations from which to do their political actions. Secondly, there are attacks. The victim of the attack knows who is performing the deed. The opponent loses a great deal of clout (10) while the attacker loses half that amount (5).
As previously stated, there are two branches to the government of Temuair. There are three offices in the Judiciary Branch and two in the Legislative Branch. Within the Judiciary Branch, positions are as follows: Guard, Guard Captain, and Judge. In the branch of Legislation, the two offices are Demagogue and Burgess. Each office requires a clout requirement, as well as other prerequisites. All higher officials must hold the position of Respected Citizen at least once before continuing in the political arena. To become a Respected Citizen, a reasonably small sum of clout (10) is required, as well as the completion of one student's mentorship. The aspiring citizen must be of the 11th insight, as well. Respected Citizen is not considered an office per se, but more of a title and an introduction. It is, however, a necessary task for anyone wishing to be a politician. It also gives a small amount of responsibility, which can give a semblance of an idea of political status. The clout required for each respective office, as well as the prerequisites are listed as follows:
|Respected Citizen||10||1 Completed Mentorship|
|Guard||25||1 Respected Citizen Term|
|Guard Captain||50||1 Respected Citizen Term, 4 Guard Terms|
|Judge||100||1 Respected Citizen Term, 4 Guard Terms, 4 Guard Captain Terms|
|Demagogue||50||4 Respected Citizen Terms|
|Burgess||200||4 Respected Citizen Terms, 4 Demagogue Terms|
II. Being an Officer and Doing it Well
A. The Respected Citizen
The most important factor to remember about the title of Respected Citizen, is that no Aisling is automatically entitled to the respect of others. This respect must first be earned. You should always act as a Respected Citizen, and begin to earn the respect of others long before you decide to claim this title. This title is supposed to show that others have confidence in you and your actions. This is not a title to be taken lightly. It is not a title to "beg" for. If you must harass others in the process of "begging" for this title, you can almost surely know that you do not deserve it.
The Respected Citizen is the stepping stone of the entire political system. No office can be attained without serving at least one term as a Respected Citizen. It is not considered an office; there are no real 'powers' associated with the position. A Respected Citizen is a trusted member of the community; they are 'respectable.' One should take their Respected Citizen term as seriously as they would if it were one of the "official" offices. A Respected Citizen has the ability to admit citizens to their township. They can do this by speaking with the Civic Agents, and expending a small amount of clout (1). When admitting a citizen, one should be sure to interview and explain the laws of the region to the prospect. This way, you ensure a quality citizenship basis for your township, by selecting those few who wish to obey the laws of your region, and to try to make it a better place (at least to your knowledge and faith in them).
Also, the Respected Citizen is trusted by the Mundanes of the realm. The Mundanes allow Respected Citizens to use their tools and such, without the fear of thievery or misuse. A Respected Citizen can assist in Regional Tailoring with a tailor. The garment is given to the tailor. The Respected Citizen borrows the Mundanes sketches and tools, and instructs the tailor in their use. All garments from the 1st to the 41st insight can be Regionally Tailored in the following locations: Mileth, in the Mileth fashion; Rucesion, in the Rucesion fashion; Suomi, in the Suomi fashion; and Piet, in the Loures fashion. All higher officials have this ability as well, but the Respected Citizen is where it begins.
The position of Respected Citizen is one that gives someone a small taste of what it is to be an official. If one cannot be trusted with the duties of the Respected Citizen, then they surely cannot be trusted with that of a legitimate political official.
B. The Judiciary Branch
a. The Guard
The Guard takes an oath when they take office. Within this oath, they swear to protect their township, and the fair citizens within, to the best of their ability. The basis of being a good Guard is realizing what your purpose is and knowing how to attain that goal. The Guard is but a servant to the community. Their uniform consists of a Tabard for the gentlemen or a Bliaut for the ladies. This uniform can also serve as armor to some, in certain situations. The disadvantage of this uniform is that it also decreases the maximum will of the wearer (1000 mana). It is a green chain mail garment. All Guards receive this uniform, as it signifies your position in society. It should be worn while patrolling, so people may recognize you as a Guard if a problem arises. Each Guard's uniform is specifically tailored to fit only that Guard it was tailored for.
The Guards' greatest assets are a level-head, knowledge of the laws, a sense of amiability, professionalism, stability, and sound judgement. Allowing personal differences to get in the way of performing your duties will always result in chaos. An amiable attitude will make you seem more open to your fellow Aislings, and they will come to you with their problems without pause. Seeming too ‘elite' or anti-social is not a good quality of a Guard, as they are far from elite, but more like the tools of the community. Granted, being a tool is not in any way, shape, or form an insult. It is a privilege. Without the politicians, Temuair could be in an unimaginable chaotic state. It may not be in its prime at present, however, but it could be much worse. A sense of good judgement is useful to anyone. This is especially true of a Guard, considering they must often assess the actions of their peers. An innate ability to read people and their behavior is very useful to a Guard, especially when it comes to enacting justice.
The Guard should learn to be lenient, yet firm in your decisions. Enforcing with an iron fist is sometimes the worst method of getting things done. You never know when one party is lying, who is right or wrong in a situation, or when the whole truth is not presented. When lenient, you are less likely to resort to banishment instead of working the situation out in a less harmful way to all parties involved. Sometimes, however, there is no alternative method and one must decide the proper route of action to be taken. You should never take action before trying to listen to both sides of a dispute.
The Guard must know the laws of his/her township like they know the back of their hand. If you do not, you can not legitimately perform your tasks and duties as a Guard. The Guard enforces the laws, and you cannot enforce that, which you neither know nor understand. Realize that the Guard is not a writer of laws, as that is the job of the Demagogues and Burgesses. All that is asked of you is that you know what the laws of consist of, what they mandate, and how they should be enforced. Personal opinions and feelings should never cloud your judgement.
The Guard should know the Guard Conduct and follow it to the best of their ability. If they do so, they will surely get along just fine, never having to worry about office removal and such. Right now, we have well over 50 Guards.. I sometimes wonder, " Where are they, and why do I not see them!?"
b. The Guard Captain
The Guard Captain holds all the responsibilities of the Guard, as well a number of other duties. The Guard Captain should organize the Guards, and make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible. They also need to resolve disputes between the Guards whenever deemed necessary. A good Guard Captain must set an example. In addition to the qualities set forth for Guards, the Guard Captains must be organized, prompt, and experienced. A Guard Captain must first serve 4 terms as a Guard, as the requirement to attain office. This does not mean they have as much experience as another Guard. A Guard, Captain, or Judge who does not work and carry out his duties regularly, will not have much experience. Even one that does, for example, one that lives in Rucesion, will not have the experience of a Mileth official, or vice-versa. That is not to say they are less capable, but it is a fact that they differ, due to the demographics of the two townships. Experience is necessary for a Guard Captain because they must be able to give solid advice to their Guards when needed.
Guard Captains should make it a point to hold useful meetings. In these meetings, a lot of points can be clarified, laws discussed, quarrels resolved, and many more relevant things can be accomplished. It should be enforced that Guards must attend these meetings; it is necessary that all Guards are on the same page at the same time. This will ensure a more effective Guard unit, overall.
At the meetings, the Guard Captain should keep order. They should also have an organized plan before the meetings begin. Organization is a great quality of a Guard Captain. With this trait, they will know what is going on at all times during their meetings. Organization also helps Guard Captains when it comes to categorizing case evidence. If an old case is brought up, or brought to the Judge, evidence can and must be presented to convict or acquit the alleged criminal. Also, if a Guard Captain is more organized, even when it comes to a logical pathway of thought, they can tell you what law you broke and where to find it. This shows a knowledge of the law as well an orderly recollection of sed law.
Finally, the Guard Captains, as well as Guards, must know where their allegiance lies. The Guard Captain has (hopefully and rightfully) earned their rank, and in essence can command the Guard unit to do certain things; otherwise, the Guard Captain would be nothing more than a Guard. This is not the best approach, and should only be used in instances where swift action is absolutely necessary. Also remember, neither the Guard nor Guard Captain fall under the authority of a Demagogue or Burgess. They are two entirely different branches of government, and should only be intertwined when necessary. A Demagogue ordering a Guard to banish someone always ends up in conflict, and that is something no one wants. In either case, if the Captain is good enough, they can resolve the conflict. I know this from personal experience throughout my terms. Prevention is always better than rectification of a problem later on.
c. The Judge
At the top of the Judiciary Branch ladder, is the Judge. The Judge has no uniform, so do not attempt to attain the office for that purpose, as many unfortunately have a habit of doing. The Judge's primary duty is to administer fair and impartial judgement to all citizens of their township. The laws are written by the Demagoguery, but the Judge must be able to interpret the laws, not leaving room for any ambiguity.
The Judge appoints the prosecutor, the defendant, and the jury, when cases are brought to court. They have the ability (if they so desire) to designate trial rights and responsibilities. They must schedule court cases in a timely manner, as well as enforce the schedule.
In being a Judge, you have the experience from serving eight double-moons as a Guard under your belt, as well as eight double-moons of Guard Captain, if not more. The reason that such duties are considered prerequisites for the position of Judge are very simple; a level head will make you an effective officer in all three positions. You will gain political maturity as you climb the ranking ladder. The Judge should be the most experienced of all three officials. If this is not the case, the Judge did not perform their prior duties as they should have.
A Judge should have a working knowledge of all the cases in their township. Granted, there are many different cases one would have to keep up with. In Mileth, this is almost impossible due to the amount of citizens and size of the community. I'm sure it is extremely difficult in other townships as well. To do your best is the most you can do, as long as you are aware of as many things as you can be. Even if you do not volunteer yourself to mediate cases, you will be asked to, simply due to your social status. The Judge serves as council to Guards as well as Guard Captains.
A Judge should categorize and organize all of the evidence presented to them. This evidence should be kept in private files. This way, if anyone ever attempts to appeal a case, the needed materials will be easy to find. It is also necessary for the Judge to post their cases on the Judgements board in the courtroom. This way, there will be a public record for all to view, in regards to political cases.
C. The Legislative Branch
a. The Demagogue
There is much controversy involved with the actual duties and responsibilities of the Demagoguery. This position is not one to be taken lightly. Just as with all other political positions, Demagogues are also servants of the community. Even though you are in a political position, you are not entitled to respect, it must still be earned through your actions and abilities. The Demagogues, in some capacity, speak as a liaison of the community. Just as the Judiciary officials must have a level-head and sound judgement, so must the officials of the Legislative Branch.
The main concern of the Demagogues should be to study and ensure the well being of the township. One way to accomplish this is through proposing and passing laws that protect the community as a whole. They write the laws that are carried out and enforced by the Judiciary Branch of the political officials. When writing laws, the Demagogues should always have the best interest of their township at heart. Be weary, it is very easy to write laws that you feel may serve your own best interest instead. You must always remember that you have been elected to serve the community through your actions, not for the community to serve you. Laws should not be hastily written. Much thought and revision must be put into proposed laws. Laws must be written in a way which allows equal protection for all citizens. When writing laws, the Demagogues should remember to write the laws in a manner which is as direct and indisputable as possible. With the attribute of ambiguity in a law, much unnecessary chaos can result.
Demagogues have been given a special ability, the ability to exile criminals from the township. Unlike banishments, this punishment will void any positive record an Aisling has made for himself in the township. This punishment will negate all political positions one has held in the past, and the Mundanes will no longer hold any special regard for the Aisling. To keep accusations of political abuse of power to a minimum, Demagogues should never exile an Aisling without a ruling of the Court. While it may be an ability and a privilege, unfortunately, it can be devastating if used improperly. Once an exile is made, there is no way to rectify the damages if done unjustly. Another very important obligation of the Demagogues is one that is often overlooked by many. The Demagogues are responsible for moderating and cleaning the less desirable messages off of the various notice boards throughout the community. These boards are meant as a means for positive communication amongst the citizens of a township. Since we do not live in a perfect world, sometimes these posts can be less than appropriate. As it is the responsibility to ensure the well being of the community, these boards must be regulated and cleared of rubbish. At times, this duty can seem to be torture, but it is a job that must be done.
Finally, the Demagogues hold the same ability that a Respected Citizen does. They must admit citizens that will prove to be an asset to the community. By speaking with these Aislings in detail, it is much eaiser to decide whether or not they are a good candidate to be a citizen of the township.
b. The Burgess
Much like the position of the Demagogue, the Burgess' main duty consists of ensuring the well being of, and serving, the community. The same responsibilities of the Demagogues fall upon the Burgesses. As a Burgess must first serve eight double-moons in term as a Demagogue, their skills and abilities of their office should be refined and almost second nature.
The Burgess is to a Demagogue, as the Guard Captain is to a Guard. The Burgess should be a leader and set an example. The Burgess should try to the best of their ability to supervise the Demagogues and guide them in their endeavors. The Burgess should try to observe the Demagogues and suggest methods of improvement. As a leader, the Burgess should also try their best to schedule and administer routine meetings of the Demagogues.
Burgesses also have a special ability to veto and remove any or all laws they believe to be inappropriately written. This is a bold step and should neither be taken lightly nor without support. While Burgesses hold quite a bit of power in the community, they should always act responsibly and with the utmost respect toward their citizens. It is not a good quality of a Burgess to act as if they are above others. While they may have certain abilities and privileges, they should never act alone and should always consult with the Demagogues, or other officials, before taking action. Without input from others, the Burgess may seem to be tyrannical, insensitive, and irrational.
After reading about the different stations in the political realm, the requirements, and what it takes to serve as one, I hope that you have dediced whether or not you are cut out for politics. Something that people fail to remember, politicians and officials are the servants of the community. After a while, it may seem as if an official gains a certain aire about themselves, an elitist quality if you will. This could be detrimental to their serving as an official in their township. Without the well-being of the citizens in mind, the official is nothing more than the owner of a uniform they do not deserve. There is an open forum for political discussion, once you have gained a legitimate position. To locate this forum, ask me when you see me in Temuair and I will surely refer you. Thank you for journeying through the political realm with me, and I hope you succeed in your endeavors. Realize, it will be a bumpy ride, but well worth it if properly approached. Farewell, may Deoch's flames light your way through the sometimes dark reigns of politics.
~ Xilan Horidre
Deoch 9, 9th Moon, 3rd Sun, 4 a.m.
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