So, I was in a strange mood the other night, possibly due to a combination of research, too much politics in my news, and having the entire world setting and the basic plots for a new book series jump me.
So. I was reading about the interconnections between religious duties and kingship in the Pre-classic and Classic Maya cultures of Central America.
One of the continuities that seems to run from Olmec through Maya and later cultural groups in the need for priests, rulers, and a lot of other people to provide blood to feed the gods. We’re most familiar with the Aztecs, but other cultural groups had similar traditions on a smaller scale. You had to show your gratitude for the bounties of the soil and sky by giving back blood, treasure, and lives. Especially rulers and nobles, since they got more of the benefits.
Which led to a mild meditation on modern politics and leadership selection in various western countries and the oft-voice discontents of those involved in the election process at the qualities and apparent problems of the various political parties, candidates, and so on. One oft-voiced complaint is that too many leaders do not seem to grasp how their policies might affect the majority of people in their countries (see the 100,000 Germans who are suing to stop an EU-Canada trade agreement).
My modest meditation: What if politicians had to provide evidence of their desire for power and their willingness to sacrifice the same way the Mayan kings and queens did? You know, piercing your tongue with a cactus spine and dripping blood on paper to be burned as a sacrifice, drawing blood from those sensitive body parts we don’t mention on family blogs, running a thorn-laced rope through the lower lip on special occasions, and soon. Without anesthesia, although modern antibiotics would certainly be permitted, and clean and sterile bandages.
We’d know in a heartbeat who only wants the perks of office, who wants to have the power without the responsibility, and who has given thought to just what “serving one’s country” really means. And we’d be able to identify current and former politicos quite easily: they’d all have a visible and dramatic allergic reaction to spiny plants and sharp objects.