UN PRIMO CITTADINO A TURNO E NO QUIRINALE AL POSTO DEI MONARCHI DA STRAPAZZO

C’è un altro ruolo da rottamare, quello del presidente della repubblica. Lo derivammo, così spropositatamente lungo – sette anni, laddove consoli da 12 mesi fecero grande Roma e ad Atene c’erano arconti da un giorno- dalla Costituzione francese del 1875. Era stata votata da una maggioranza parlamentare monarchica, e monarchico dichiarato fu il secondo presidente della Troisième République, Mac-Mahon. L’ultimo monarca di Francia era stato Napoleone III, nipote del Grande. Eletto presidente della Seconda repubblica nel l848, si era trasformato in imperatore quattro anni dopo. Non aveva regnato male: capiva i proletari e, pur amando di più la borghesia che industrializzava il paese, li aveva qua e là sostenuti. Ebbe la sventura di farsi coartare a muovere guerra alla Prussia (in pratica alla Germania prossima ad unificarsi e a diventare possente). Fu sconfitto rovinosamente.

La repubblica che era seguita alla disfatta e alla Comune parigina si rialzò in fretta: ricca di capitali, divenne il secondo più vasto impero coloniale al mondo. Seguirono due guerre mondiali (la seconda apportatrice di una sconfitta definitiva) e venne una Quarta Repubblica con i difetti più gravi della Terza, in primis il parlamentarismo estremo. Alla fine la Francia fu salvata, per mano di un generale, da una Quinta repubblica mondata delle lebbre della Quarta e della Terza.

I Costituenti italiani del 1947, più sconsiderati di quelli domati da de Gaulle. vollero un capo dello stato apparentemente forte -in realtà comandavano i partiti prevaricatori- e per un mandato troppo lungo, laddove nel 2002 la carica del presidente francese sarà opportunamente accorciata a 5 anni. Eletto dal popolo e largamente responsabilizzato, il presidente francese è uno statista migliore del nostro, eletto dalla Casta nella più completa irrilevanza dei cittadini. Fino alla crisi del 2007-08 il nostro presidente è stato un vaso di coccio tra  ferrei vasi partitici. Fu il fallimento del governo Berlusconi a trasformare Napolitano in un decisore forte e persino arbitrario: re Giorgio.

Oggi la Casta si trova di fronte alla scelta di un capo di stato che,  secondo come evolverà la crisi dell’economia e del regime, potrà risultare o no qualcuno; oltre a tutto dipenderà dal fattore forse nuovo, forse no, rappresentato da Matteo Renzi. Il successore di Napolitano sarà probabilmente scelto perchè non intralci il Rottamatore in una fase iniziale. Dopo, potrà accadere di tutto: dalla crisi di regime acuta e duramente rinnovatrice alla ricaduta nei giochi esiziali del partitismo cleptocratico. In un caso come nell’altro il ruolo del capo dello Stato resterà scadente, bisognoso di un ripensamento integrale. L’eventuale continuità col settantennio della Casta sarà micidiale.

In un ordinamento razionale la mezzadria tra due personalità costituzionalmente forti al vertice dello Stato non avrà senso. Piuttosto dovrà rafforzarsi nettamente il capo del governo, trasformato in Cancelliere espresso dal popolo. In tal caso dovranno ridursi sia le prerogative del capo dello Stato, sia quelle del potere legislativo (il parlamentarismo è un fatto degenerativo).

Sarebbe giusto che il presidente della repubblica perdesse quasi tutti i poteri che ricordano quelli del monarca. Gli resterebbero le funzioni cerimoniali e protocollari, quelle che non meritano di impegnare il Cancelliere espresso dal popolo.  Nella regia forte di tale cancelliere, a lui spetteranno quasi tutte le funzioni assegnate al capo dello Stato da una carta statutaria oggettivamente pessima: ha fatto sorgere un ordinamento stimato solo dai farabutti che lo sfruttano. La fiducia nelle Istituzioni volute nel 1947 si è ridotta a percentuali da farsa.

Per la funzione nominale che è opportuno resti al Primo Cittadino non va cercato un protagonista, una personalità con un passato e un’ambizione importanti. Dovrebbe bastare la rotazione annuale tra personaggi degni di onorabilità, scelti per sorteggio in un ruolo di soggetti dotati di determinati requisiti oggettivi, p.es. magistrati o studiosi di alto livello, benemeriti del volontariato e simili. Il Primo  Cittadino non dovrebbe essere rieleggibile né essere prescelto per altri ruoli politici.

Dovrebbero essere imperativi l’abbandono della reggia del Quirinale e la scelta di una sede decorosa ma senza alcuno sfarzo, con un bilancio e un personale non superiori al decimo degli attuali. Tutti i presidenti repubblicani finora eletti andrebbero processati per non avere rifiutato di mettere piede in un edificio che è la negazione assoluta della sobrietà e della moralità repubblicane. I loro beni e quelli lasciati agli eredi dovrebbero essere confiscati per indennizzare i contribuenti degli oneri loro imposti dal Quirinale e sue dipendenze. Uguale procedimento dovrebbe avocare gli eccessi di reddito dei professionisti politici -e loro eredi- di carriera pubblica insolitamente lunga. Per esempio il sessantaduennio di parlamento, poi di Quirinale, originariamente imposto per Giorgio Napolitano dal Partito comunista andrebbe sanzionato come un sopruso e un sovraprofitto di regime.

A.M.C.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT: HOW WE OVERTHREW CORRUPT TAMMANY HALL

Internauta offre al Rottamatore, come a chiunque altro sogni di combattere la corruzione, la testimonianza di chi vinse una grossa battaglia contro la cupola del malcostume a New York: Theodore Roosevelt. Aiutato, come i  suoi quinti cugini Franklin Delano e Anna Eleanor, dal fatto d’appartenere a una famiglia del grande patriziato, a 37 anni il Nostro fu messo a capo del Police Board della metropoli. Il successo fu totale: governatore dello Stato a 40 anni, presidente degli Stati Uniti a 43, premio Nobel per la pace a 48. Ecco come raccontò la sua bonifica nella rivista Atlantic (1897).

“In New York, in the fall of 1894, Tammany Hall was overthrown by a coalition composed partly of the regular Republicans, partly of anti-Tammany Democrats, and partly of Independents. Under the last head must be included a great many men who in national politics habitually act with one or other of the two great parties, but who feel that in municipal politics good citizens should act independently. The tidal wave, which was running high against the Democratic party, was undoubtedly very influential in bringing about the anti-Tammany victory; but the chief factor in producing the result was the widespread anger and disgust felt by decent citizens at the corruption which under the sway of Tammany had honeycombed every department of  the city government.

The center of corruption was the police department. No man not intimately acquainted with both the lower and the humbler sides of New York life -for there is a wide distinction between the two- can realize how far this corruption extended. Except in rare instances, where prominent politicians made demands which could not be refused, both promotions and appointments toward the close of Tammany rule were almost solely for money, and the prices were discussed with cynical frankness. There was a well-recognized tariff of charges, ranging from two or three hundred dollars for appointment as a patrolman, to twelve or fifteen thousand dollars  for promotion to the position of captain. The money was reimbursed to those who paid it by an elaborate system of blackmail. This was chiefly carried on at the expense of gamblers, liquor sellers, and keepers of disorderly houses; but every form of vice and crime contributed more or less, and a great many respectable people who were ignorant or timid were blackmailed under the pretense of forbidding or allowing them to violate obscure ordinances, and the like.

In May1895, I was made president of the newly appointed police board, whose duty was to cut out the chief source of civic corruption in New York by cleansing the police department. We could not accomplish all that we should have liked to accomplish, for we were shackled by preposterous legislation, and by the opposition and intrigues of the basest machine politicians. Nevertheless, we did more to increase the efficiency and honesty of the police department than had ever previously been done in its history.

Beside suffering, in aggravated form, from the difficulties which beset the course of the entire administration, the police board had to encounter certain special and peculiar difficulties. It is not a pleasant thing to deal with criminals and purveyors of vice. It is a rough work,and cannot always be done in a nice manner.

The Tammany officials of New York, headed by the comptroller, made a systematic effort to excite public hostility against the police for their warfare on vice. The lawbreaking liquor seller, the keeper of disorderly houses, and the gambler had been influential allies of Tammany, and head contributors to its campaign chest. Naturally Tammany fought for them; and the effective way in which to carry on such a fight was to portray with gross exaggeration and misstatement the methods necessarily employed by every police

force which honestly endeavors to do its work.

Tammany found its most influential allies in the sensational newspapers. Of all the forces that tend for evil in a great city like New York, probably no other is so potent as the sensational press. If the editor will stoop, and make his subordinates stoop, to raking the gutters of human depravity, to upholding the wrongdoer and assailing what is upright and honest, he can make money.

In administering the police force, we found, as might be expected, that there was no need of genius, nor indeed of any very unusual qualities. What was required was the exercise of the plain, ordinary  virtues, of a rather commonplace type, which all good citizens should be expected to possess. Our methods for restoring order, discipline and efficiency were simple.  We made frequent personal inspections, especially at night, going anywhere, at any time. We then proceeded to punish those who were guilty of shortcomings, and to reward those who did well. A very few promotions and dismissals sufficed to show our subordinates that at last they were dealing with superiors who meant what they said, and that the days of political  “pull” were over while we had the power. The effect was immediate.

A similar course was followed in reference to the relations between the police and citizens generally. There had formerly been much complaint of the brutal treatment by police of innocent  citizens. This was stopped peremptorily by the obvious expedient of dismissing from the force the first two or three men who were found guilty of brutality. On the other hand, if a mob threatened violence, we were glad to have the mob hurt. If a criminal showed fight, we expected the officer to  use any weapon that was requisite to overcome him on the instant. All that the board required was to be convinced that the necessity really existed. We did not possess a particle of the maudlin sympathy for the criminal, disorderly, and lawless classes which is such a particularly unhealthy sign of social development.

To break up the system of blackmail and corruption was less easy. The criminal who is blackmailed has a direct interest in paying the blackmailer, and it is not easy to get information about it.

It was the enforcement of the liquor law which caused most excitement. In New York, the saloon-keepers have always stood high among professional politicians. Nearly two thirds of the political leaders of Tammany Hall have been in the liquor business at one time or another. The influence the saloon-keepers wield in local politics has always been very great, and until our board took office no man ever dared seriously to threaten them for their flagrant violations of the law. On the other hand, a corrupt police captain, or the corrupt politician who controlled him, could always extort money from a saloon-keeper by threatening to close his place. The amount collected was enormous.

In reorganizing the force the board had to make, and did make, more promotions, more appointments, and more dismissals in its  two years of existence than had ever before been made in the same length of time.The result of our labors was of value to the city, for we gave the citizens better protection than they had ever before received, and at the same time cut out the corruption which was eating away civic morality. We were attacked with the most bitter animosity by every sensational newspaper and every politician of the baser sort, because of what we did that was good. We enforced the laws as they were on the statute books, we broke up blackmail, we kept down the spirit of disorder and repressed rascality, and we administered the force with an eye single to the welfare of the city.

Our experience with the police department taught one or two lessons which are applicable to the whole question of reform. Very many men put their faith in some special device, some special  bit of legislation or some official scheme for getting good government. In reality good government can come only through good administration, and good administration only as a consequence of a sustained -not spasmodic- and earnest effort by good citizens to secure honesty, courage, and common sense among civic administrators. If they demand the impossible, they will fail; if they do not demand a good deal, they will get nothing. But though they should demand much in the way of legislation, they should make their special effort for good administration. A bad law may seriously hamper the best administrator, and even nullify most of his efforts. But a good law is of no value whatever unless well administered.

(Theodore Roosevelt , 1897)