Friday, February 23, 2007

Imperium Americanum: History Repeating

Here we are deep in the last third of Gibbon.

Almost 45 years ago, Ceasar died in Dallas, the long knives replaced by a hail of bullets, with the devolution of honor being such that the conspirators hid behind contract killers bought from the mafia rather than looking their prince in the eye as they betrayed him and murdered their republic.

Wars and foreign intrigues followed, as the conspirators, now the rulers of empire, fed at the trough of money and power. In Rome, uneasy parents, witness to the unspeakable, soon enough gave way to sons and daughters who reveled in wealth and decadence.

The rich were never richer, the poor never more despised. The outward forms and structures were maintained, from familiarity and convenience, but all Romans knew that democracy had been supplanted by dictatorship, that Rome had sacrificed its soul to grasp at the delirious prize of world domination.

The pathetic spectacle of the current Senate's inability to pass a non-binding resolution censuring the conduct of the Iraq war should have been played out in togas.

The craven politics, posturing and rank hypocrisy of the past weeks' maneuverings have reached new lows even for Congress--a profoundly saddening and shameless display that reveals an institution that is impotent, dysfunctional and frankly irrelevant. The stink of rotten decadence hangs over the farce: Congress is defunct as a viable, let alone co-equal, branch of government.

Enter Nero, playing air guitar.

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