Re: Of course he’s not a “dictator,” he is only the leader of a “one-party state”
I think we should give this period of the H.R.P.P. and Tuila’epa rule the name: “Tui Myth” in the mold of the “Tudor Myth” of England of the 15th/16th centuries. There are some significant similarities.
One of these is the belief that the government/king is divinely sanctioned.
That means God watches over and governs the country through the leader/king. That has always been Tuila’epa’s shibboleth, which, unfortunately, may not and/or cannot be repudiated and refuted considering Samoa’s national motto of having been “founded on God”.
The recent constitutional change making Samoa a Christian state adds to that whole belief and psyche. But as I said in one of my recent letters:
“The Samoa Christian churches, understandably, welcome and embrace the [change], but again there’s hidden venom underneath it.
The government can actually become the proverbial camel that will slowly but surely encroach and eventually take control of the tent (or Church). If the government can pass a law to nationalize a particular religion, what stops it from regulating that religion?
The demarcation between church and state has become more indistinct and obscure as a result.
The irony is that churches now think that they are rightfully and deservedly sanctioned and are given a mandate by the government and yet, at the same time, they are unknowingly ceding to the government some of their autonomy and supposed authority and independence.
Therefore, churches/denominations better be ready and not be surprised when - not if - their ecclesiastical appointments, policies and practices will be infringed upon, if not dictated, by the government down the road. The government now has a vested interest in its religion nemesis. The camel is in.”
Yes, the “animal” (donkey or elephant in the US political context) certainly is in the tent already. And the “divine right” claim, ironically, is now being used against the clergy and the Church in Samoa requiring their ministers to pay taxes, for example.
This sounds like something right out of an edict of a Tudor king. Practically, again, the church is now controlled by the government.
Another similarity between the present government and the Tudor dynasty is found in how the people continue to view the P.M. and H.R.P.P. as being authoritarian.
The government, however, can actually respond and - using one of the Tudor Myth’s claims and justifications for an evil king/ruler - say that it has been divinely called, too, to change and correct the people’s wicked and evil ways, if not become a scourge to them.
In other words, an evil people deserves an evil ruler. And this kinda goes along with the democratic notion of people deserving their leaders because they elect them (albeit indirectly in Samoa) to begin with.
Moreover, the P.M’s audacious and dictatorial tendencies may also be given validation and consolation by a popular notion articulated by a French political philosopher, Jean Bodin, who said, contextually, that the “... [Prime Minister], in whom the [power] resteth, is to give account unto none, but to the immortal God alone.”
This was said in defense of the monarchical style of government of Bodin’s time like the Tudor dynasty. Notwithstanding, the Bible has its own position in which the buck stops with the leaders: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”~ Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)
So either way, I guess, in a sense, it goes back to the people - if they’re mourning or rejoicing (or in emoji lingo, LOL!) - or if they’re evil or good.
Samoa e, ala mai ia!