Will there be an "Et tu, Brute" moment ?

Oh my intertwingled mind.

I have the news channel blathering away in the background, and again I hear about Donald Trump's latest shenanigans, aside from vengeance on witnesses in his impeachment: now he is throwing his weight around to influence the sentencing of his criminal buddy Roger Stone.

Listening, I start thinking: it sure seems like Trump is behaving like an undemocratic tyrant, like a king anointed by God; when will cowardly Republican politicians finally step up and protect their own constitution?

Every one of us have a breaking point that pushes us into action.  What happens when we don't act by that breaking point?  How long can Republican politicians keep hiding behind the words "Donald Trump has learned his lesson?"

The more Trump gets away with deconstructing the judicial and political institutions and norms that have made America the beacon of democracy, the more he consolidates his personal power and neuters this concept of co-equal branches of government.  Checks and balances: nice knowing ya.

I can't help but think of ancient Rome, and how all empires eventually fall.

And it all got me thinking of Julius Caesar's assassination.  From Wikipedia's "Assassination of Julius Caesar" article:
In January 44, Caesar—who was already dictator—was named perpetual dictator by the Senate. This declaration made many senators of the conservative Optimates faction fear that Caesar wanted to overthrow the Republic and establish a monarchy; they thus decided to kill him to save the Republic. 
Despite the death of Caesar, the conspirators were unable to restore the institutions of the Republic, and the ramifications of the assassination led to the Liberators' civil war and ultimately to the Principate period of the Roman Empire.
1888 painting by William Holmes Sullivan is named Et tu Brute and is located in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
(edit of original image from Wikimedia Commons)
BTW: that scene, to me, is just a very brutally figurative way of expressing: when things go too far, things can get really ugly.  Maybe Donald Trump's Brutus in an "Et tu, Brute" moment will be his own senators, or an ego-driven mistake, or his supporters at the ballot box.  A plethora of Brutus possibilities ...

Eventually, the Roman Empire fell.  When the decline of ancient Rome started (during the republic? the empire?), whether or not Julius Caesar's assassination started or precipitated things, whether or not it made a difference, and any other questions: who knows?

Maybe once the wheels of destiny are put into motion, there is no turning back?

Here's hoping that the Americans (well, the world) is just experiencing a temporary freak show ...

Now, that aside, I want to brush up on my history of the Roman Empire.

Too many interests, not enough lifetimes...

And that, my friends, is my intertwingulitis of the day.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Wikipedia's "Roman Kingdom" article makes for interesting reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Kingdom