Once upon a time there was a rich and powerful kingdom, which had risen from humble beginnings to become a large and powerful empire. It was a singularly blessed realm which possessed great natural resources and was guarded by legions of brave soldiers.
Its people lived in unparalleled luxury, and had ample leisure to sample the numerous circuses, games, and fairs which the land was justly famous for in all corners of the globe. It prided itself on being a bastion of justice and virtue, a shining beacon of awesomeness to all nations.
But there was disquiet in the land. The wealthy grew resentful that the poor enjoyed many entertainments of the kingdom without working or filling the realm’s coffers. The poor waxed envious of the many luxuries of the rich. And to pay for its many wars and entertainments, the realm had to borrow great sums from other kingdoms. To maintain its power, the realm sent many brave soldiers into foreign lands to fight in little and costly wars.
The ruler of the kingdom had promised to bring a new era of peace and prosperity to the realm, and created many new titles, raised up a horde of new courtiers, and established divers new rules in order to establish his will. But although he had reigned for several years, his policies had not produced the fruit he had promised; indeed, the troubled besetting the realm waxed strong indeed.
Now, the founders of this realm had decreed that at regular intervals, a new ruler should be chosen by the people from among their ranks to govern the land. And so in due course a challenger arose who sought to supplant the current ruler and take his office. He was a wealthy merchant, who had governed one of the provinces of the kingdom, and was well respected by his fellow merchants.
But this challenger was despised by two powerful classes. The guild of entertainers, which held great sway in the land, warned of grave consequences if the challenger was raised to the full honors of the throne. One female troubadour (for this was a very enlightened land) proclaimed that she would travel to a new planet if the challenger gained the throne. (She did not explain by what witchcraft this was to be accomplished.) And the criers who informed the people of the events of the day decried the wealthy merchant as a heartless monster, and even changed his words in public squares so as to mock him.
The time of choosing drew near, and public disputations were set up to allow each man seeking power to make his case for the throne. The ruler and the challenger bitterly attacked each other with heated arguments in public disputations. When these disputations were over, the supporters of each faction declared their candidate to be the clear winner, and mocked he whom they opposed as unworthy of any position in the realm.
Despite the frenzy of the criers and the obsession of the followers of each proposed ruler, many citizens simply went about their daily lives, blissfully ignorant of the choice presented them.
A few citizens recalled that previous rulers had made promises to their predecessors similar to those made by both men seeking the throne in their day, yet did little to solve the great questions facing them. These citizens nominated other challengers to the throne who claimed to present different solutions to the great questions of the day. (They beseeched the criers to present their candidates to tell the masses of these men, but the criers ignored their plaints.)
At length, the day of choosing dawned, and citizens great and small streamed into vast assemblies to support their favored candidate. That evening, hordes of people gathered in public squares, to hear the results of their choice from their criers with eager anticipation. The partisans of both factions knew that their preferred ruler would be victorious, and mocked those who thought any differently.
That night, the criers gleefully informed the masses that the ruler had maintained his position on the throne. His followers cheered, believing that their idol would usher in a new era of power and glory for the realm. The followers of the merchant warned that the kingdom was doomed; small groups even threatened to flee the kingdom in despair.
The sun still rose the next morning, and the crops still grew, and darkness did not cover the earth, nor did plague and famine come over the land.
Indeed, little had changed with the coming of the new ruler. The nation continued to borrow, wars continued to crop up, and the poor still complained of their plight.