Monday, December 6, 2010

Lady Godiva of the Tea Party

If Lady Godiva lived today she would happily be part of the Tea Party, perhaps the only mass, influential movement for a smaller government and lower taxes in the world.

Lady Godiva
John Collier

Her story is remarkable as recited by Roger of Wendover (died 6 May 1236), an English chronicler of the 13th century-

The Countess Godiva, who was a great lover of God's mother, longing to free the town of Coventry from the oppression of a heavy toll, often with urgent prayers besought her husband that, from regard to Jesus Christ and his mother, he would free the town from that service and from all other heavy burdens; and when the Earl sharply rebuked her for foolishly asking what was so much to his damage, and always forbade her evermore to speak to him on the subject; and while she, on the other hand, with a woman's pertinacity, never ceased to exasperate her husband on that matter, he at last made her this answer: "Mount your horse and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of this town from one end to the other, and on your return you shall have your request."

On which Godiva replied, "But will you give me permission if I am willing to do it?"

"I will," said he.

Whereupon the Countess, beloved of God, loosed her hair and let down her tresses, which covered the whole of her body like a veil, and then, mounting her horse and attended by two knights, she rode through the marketplace without being seen, except her fair legs, and having completed the journey, she returned with gladness to her astonished husband and obtained of him what she had asked, for Earl Leofric freed the town of Coventry and its inhabitants from the aforesaid service, and confirmed what he had done by a charter.

The Lady Godiva technique is unlikely to work in a country suffering under a corrupt, venal administration. She would be arrested for immodesty while those indicting her would carry on shamelessly with looting the nation.

The Countess' husband could be embarrassed into doing the right thing. Manmohan Singh is no Earl Leofric.