In 1618, the Protestant citizenry of Czechoslovakia suffered under the oppressive rule of their new Catholic overlord, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand, and his local regents. Contrary to religious-freedom rights enshrined by previous rulers, the Emperor's regents prevented the construction of new Protestant chapels; the Czechs worried this was a harbinger of religious totalism to come.
So they took decisive action. On May 23, 1618, a local assembly stormed into the room in Prague Castle where the regents were meeting. After a harsh confrontation, the two most odious were thrown out the window of the castle tower, thus entering history as the main players of the famous Defenestration of Prague.
In America, we are far too genteel to actually throw our oppressors out the window literally. Fortunately, in a democracy it's not necessary. Yesterday, America's voters did something potentially more effective: they threw leftist statists who want to control our every action out of Congress and out of power.
Or at least, they tried to. Unlike the more direct methods used by the Czechs, our system is designed to avoid abrupt change. It is not possible to throw every last bum out all at the same time; at the very least, a minimum of three election cycles would be needed to remove every incumbent. Yesterday's election was barely the first step on this worthy path; for every nauseous scoundrel hurled from office, like the execrable Alan Grayson, two others survived, like the abhorrent Harry Reid and utterly venal Charlie Rangel.
What is more, our elected officials are the merest tip of the iceberg. Dozens of liberals lost their seats and were replaced by others we hope will be more faithful to the Constitution.
That sounds like a lot, and in historic terms it is a lot - but compared to the countless millions of government bureaucrats who actually enforce the liberty-destroying regulational thicket that's been building up for a century, it's the merest drop in the bucket.
As we've seen before, even the President cannot fire civil servants who work in his own executive branch. Congress can't either, by name; but it can defund and eliminate entire agencies which has the same effect.
Rather than looking on yesterday's putatively resounding victory as a victory, we need instead to to think of it as the thin edge of the wedge - the point of the crowbar in the door.
Helpful? Yes. An improvement? Absolutely! But in and of itself, of no particular effect. The real work has not even begun, just as the defenestration of the regents was not at all the same thing as establishing a new Czech government more responsive to the people on the ground.
We note that the celebrated defenestrators didn't pitch out the government wholesale, only the two most hated nobles. For all the efforts of the Tea Party, it has accomplished not even that much: lots of Democrat backbenchers are gone, but the big names remain. Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid as mentioned before - all left untouched. Phooey!
There's one further lesson to be learned from the Defenestration of Prague. The rebels were in such a hurry to throw their enemies out the window that they didn't take the trouble to look out the window themselves.
Instead of a hard cobblestone street, underneath was a nice soft pile of manure. The regents picked themselves up and ran off to the emperor, becoming a cause celebre and major instigation of the Thirty Years' War which killed millions all across Europe.
The politicians our voters defenestrated will be looking to their own landings too. Will they end up in a cushy job in the Federal bureaucracy, some international agency, or a lobbying firm? Will they nurse their wounds and marshal their resources to come roaring back in two years? Perish the thought, will they form the nucleus of Obama judicial appointments and be cocking leftist snooks at us for decades to come?
Or will our new leaders ensure that their predecessors get only the hard landing their malfeasance entitles them to? They'd better; thanks to this years' less than complete success, another defenestration will be in order two years from now.
For that matter, it'll be six years before we get another crack at Reid and Boxer. Maybe we just need to get into the defenestrating habit.