And the buck stops with

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Not long ago -- and not too very far away -- a tragedy of Biblical proportions came upon the coastal lands of a once God-fearing kingdom.

The king, on holiday in the southwest reaches of the realm, returned to the alabaster castle he called home only to find the scribes had already began to question his leadership in bringing assistance to the masses affected by the tragedy. Seems the king's chosen knight -- in charge of such tragedies -- had stumbled.

Some decried the length of time it took for help to arrive while others mocked those chosen by the king to fill important positions within his court -- especially those charged with managing responses to such disasters. Many thought the king had been slow to respond out of some hidden agenda against the coastal peoples, especially the poor and those of ethnic origins different from his own. Some even blamed the king for the storm. He was a very powerful king, they mused, surely he could have kept this awful event from ever taking place. One went so far as to say, quite publicly, that the people who make the priorities and decide the agenda in the Alabaster Castle and in the Great Hall of the Lawmakers were callous to the concerns of the poor. She said the leadership had been disregarding the poor for decades, and that the king's slow, indecisive response to the tragedy was just a reminder of the immeasurable suffering that results from this disregard.

Before the sun could set on the inhabitants and advisors of the Alabaster Castle, the knight stepped down from his trusty steed and walked away. No longer would he allow himself to be the scapegoat for such a tragedy. He was worn out from dodging the flaming arrows of the scribes, the lawmakers and the people of the realm. He was soon banished from the Alabaster Castle and spent his life in exile.

The king, as was his habit, agreed that the knight was at fault and that his exile was fitting recompense for his failures. He then gathered his closest advisors and knights and traveled throughout coastal lands, hugging the poor and extending warm condolences to the local magistrates and rulers of the area.

Though the sun was shining bright in the kingdom, the Alabaster Castle seemed to lose some of its luster.

And the people wept.