Michael Pope is a former citizen of both the Kingdom of Talossa and of the Republic of Talossa. He was a citizen of Maritiimi-Maxhestic province.
Pope served as Distain to Chirisch Lauramaintsch (now known as Tamorán dal Navâ), before becoming Seneschal in 1999. Pope served continuously as Seneschal until 2002. Upon his retirement from the position, he was succeeded by his Distain, Gödafrïeu Válcadác'h. After stepping down, Pope served briefly as Immigration Minister, and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Pope also served as National Archivist until the secession, during which time he kept the Royal Archives (of King Robert I) at his home.
In his time as Seneschal, Pope attempted to give as many Talossans as possible a stake in his Government, often appointing opposition politicians to key posts. Pope's early appointment of Ián Anglatzarâ as Minister of Micronational Affairs in his first Government led to friction with King Robert I, who agitated continuously for Anglatzarâ's removal. (Pope eventually abolished the position altogether). Pope also appointed opposition member Gjermund Higraff to the position of Immigration Minister, a post he held successfully for some time.
Very early in Pope's first Government, he established formal relations with the Kingdom of Triparia, a micronation based in the Pittsburgh area that was formed by a group of college students who were all friends. Triparia took direct inspiration from Talossa, which of course drew the ire of King Robert I. Pope appointed Talossan citizen Greg Tisher, a student at the same university, as his envoy to Triparia, but formal relations were later abandoned in the face of Royal opposition.
During Pope's tenure, he developed a novel way of dealing with those who were perceived as gadflys, (including such individuals as Matt Dabrowski). On more than one occasion, Pope would appoint them to the Cabinet (often to the post of Minister for Administrative Affairs, which title he took from the classic '80s BBC television series "Yes, Minister"). Once in the Cabinet, Pope would task them with the onerous job of codifying and indexing the legal code. It was his hope that this task, which was important but not vital, would distract these individuals enough to keep them from causing trouble elsewhere in the Kingdom.
In 2000, American conservative commentator and author Dinesh D'Souza mentioned Talossa in his book The Virtue of Prosperity. D'Souza was dismissive of Talossa, missing the point entirely when he claimed "the king pretends to give orders and his subjects pretend to obey them." Pope wrote D'Souza an open letter describing how Talossa actually differed from his facile description, and inviting him to pop by and see for himself. This led to an exchange of email with D'Souza where he admitted that Talossa did look like a fun hobby.
Also in 2000, King Robert I appeared on a radio talk show on NPR. Pope called in to the show and was put through to speak with the host and the King about the Talossan experience.
As Prime Minister, Pope generally had the Kingdom pursue a foreign policy of full support for that of their ally, the United States. This intensified after the events of 9/11, as the The Talossan Anti-Terrorism Act demonstrates.
Pope's first Cabinet Appointment PD can be seen here.
After retiring, Pope served briefly as Immigration Minister, unfortunately he was unable to give his full attention to the job and he resigned the post shortly thereafter. Pope later served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Seneschal Gödafrïeu Válcadác'h.
When King Robert I decided he no longer had room to store his Royal Archives, Pope volunteered to hold onto them at his home in the DC area, and thus became the Royal Archivist in the summer of 2002. Madison brought the archives over personally when he and his wife Amy Durnford visited Washington, DC on vacation. (After the secession of the Talossan Republic, Pope sent the archives back to Madison.)
In October of 2003, during the so-called Halloween Crisis, Pope became Opposition Leader after Mximo Carbonèl was appointed Seneschal. Pope also served as President of the Progressive Conservative Party at this time.
Involvement with the Republic of Talossa
Pope was a prominent figure in the group of citizens who seceded to form the Talossan Republic, and was the author of The Compact, an agreement made by those citizens to seek secession first and to deal with the details of a new constitution and form of government later. Pope was elected the first Dean of the Provisional Government, and was the author of the Letter of Explanation, posted on Wittenberg on 1 June, 2004 alongside the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Talossa. (Although the letter appeared under his name, Pope used some wording directly from an email sent by Art Verbotten prior to the date of secession, with his permission.)
In the Republic, Pope formed the Guelph Party, a right-of-center party that contested the first elections, winning three seats. In typical Talossan fashion, Pope's party was somewhat too successful for its own good, as there were only two candidates to fill those three seats. Pope ran for President in the first Presidential election of the Republic, but lost to his long-time colleague and rival Tamorán dal Navâ.
Pope participated in a lengthy interview with historian J.K. Kelley about his participation in the formation of the Republic as part of Kelley's "History Project". (Kelley, once known as the "Greek God Guy", was a Republic citizen who had been denied citizenship in the Kingdom due to the personal animosity of King Robert I, who led a campaign against his naturalization.)
At around this time, Pope stepped back from active participation in Talossa to spend more time with his family.
Relations with King Robert I
Pope was a political ally of King Robert I from the time he joined Talossa until the latter half of 2003. As Seneschal, he often clashed with the King on issues of American politics, but generally worked well with him on Talossan issues. After leaving the Seneschalship, Pope was trusted enough by the King to hold the Royal Archives at his home. Pope openly broke with the King during the Halloween Crisis, and relations further deteriorated during the events leading up to the formation of the Republic, in particular the King's increasingly vicious attacks against Tamorán dal Navâ. During this time, Pope began to regret not having been more vocal in his opposition to the King earlier on with regards to the King's treatment of his perceived enemies. Pope eventually apologized to Ián Anglatzarâ, who had been fiercely denounced by the King during Pope's entire tenure as PM.
After the secession, King Robert I rewrote the entry on Pope in his "History of the Prime Ministers" webpage. In his attempt to debilitate Pope's legacy, he ended up with a laughably self-contradictory article in which he simultaneously criticized Pope for cementing one-party dominance AND for bringing too many Opposition figures into the Government. He also introduced many untruths and factual errors into his article in an attempt to recast Pope as a heel.
Pope was the author of The Alfred W. Lawson Recognition Act.
Having passed the online test and been to an audition, Pope is, for the third time, in the contestant pool for "Jeopardy", and is hoping that third time is the charm and that he will be cast on the show in the upcoming year.
Pope is a former United States Marine, and a veteran of Desert Storm. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a degree in International Relations and History, with minors in Soviet Studies and Defense and Strategic Studies. Pope lived in Copenhagen, Denmark during most of his high-school years, where he attended an international school run along British lines. While a Talossan, he was well-known for his conservative views on American politics.
Pope is the father of two former Dandelions, born after he became Prime Minister. Pope is married and lives and works in the Washington, DC area as an IT professional.
Tamorán dal Navâ
18 May 1999/XX - 25 June 2002/XXIII