Wednesday, August 02, 2006

King Arthur

I was just sitting here watching one of my absolute favorite movies, Dave starring Kevin Kline & Sigourney Weaver. I really love this movie, even more than I love "The West Wing" which is another one of those political "works" where realism oozes into idealism every once and a while. Except that Dave oozes into idealism and stays there.

WHY am I so enchanted by this film? Is it because it's a modern-day fairy tale? I think that may be part of the reason. But I think it's primarily because of an essential longing I have for a King Arthur. I've lived with cynicism about politics my whole life, but here in this basic Prince and the Pauper story, we are given a leader with integrity, compassion, intelligence, and an understanding heart. He is a GOOD MAN, and he wants to do what is best, not what is politically expedient.

It's the same reason one of my favorite books is Avalon by Stephen R. Lawhead. It's subtitled The Return of King Arthur, and is a fictional "what if" story where Arthur returns to rule England in modern times. He's got all the same qualities we wish for in a ruler, and have not seen... ever, I guess.

I guess there've been some enlightened despots along the path of history who have been rulers you could follow and trust with your whole heart - King Alfred comes to mind - but the fact that the word "despot" has a negative connotation indicates that probably 99% of the despots of history were evil or self-seeking. But in actuality, Plato (or Socrates, I forget which) said that not democracy, but an enlightened despotism was the best form of government. Democracy/Republicanism (not the party but the form of government) is only the best form of government that is actually ACHIEVABLE.

CS Lewis often refers to the return of King Arthur in his writings, and I've only come to realize why in recent years... he's the ruler we all wish we had, but won't have until the end of time.

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