Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

FEAR OF THE FUTURE

          You would think Donald Trump was doing the Lord’s work. As with all messiahs who show up now and then, everything seems to go his way, regardless, as it hath been down through history. His GOP base increaseth in its love for him, edging towards 90% of support for anything he says or does, calling to mind the adage that when even two people think exactly alike, one of them isn’t thinking.

          Everything we’ve known as fair play, decent and good is out the window, and it’s everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost, Donald being both “himself” and the devil.

          He struts like Mussolini, complete with facial expressions, at his iconic “campaign” rallies, and unlike prior tyrants who unleashed goons with orders to beat up opposition, elements of his base need no instructions, feeling authorized to do so on their own, after all, this is a democracy. And don’t even get started with me about poor li’l Sarah Sanders being denied restaurant service—she’s all-ok with bakers who won’t make cakes for gay weddings.

          So what does Donald have to fear—only fear itself? Well, it’s a start. Here’s a guy whose colossal ego needs neither God’s forgiveness, nor the asking for it, as he asserted long ago, and who loves our enemies and hates his own countrymen: imagine the goodwill he may have merited by giving credit for predecessors’ building-blocks from which he has benefited, such as Obama’s economic bailout, and even Barack’s earlier call for NATO nations to up their ante on mutual defense.

          Let’s go back to Aristotle, one of many dead poets, so to speak, who got everything right the first time: his definition of tragedy was that when such folk, by hook or crook, become apparently unstoppable—they end up doing in themselves. The ego finally goes too far and they, being blind to it, serve up the means of their own destruction. A man of moderate temper might catch himself before a fall, but not an ego-maniac, not when he thinks he’s God himself.

          It was Aristotle too who long before had proposed the idea of a mixed-constitution that got its first test during the Roman Empire, which became a Republic along the way. Ari knew all the forms of government—rule by one, the few and the many, ergo, monarchies, aristocracies and democracies. He imagined a combo of them and the Romans did just that. They didn’t always have emperors and when they didn’t there were consuls who indeed had absolute authority, but only in war and in national crisis.

          Their senate was not elected, but chosen, from elite families and outstanding heroes, which implied breeding, experience and, necessarily, the benefit of age and the wisdom and judgment for big decisions made in foreign policy, going to war and making treaties. Last were popular assemblies who voted to place people in office—including the two consuls—along with determining rewards and punishments.

          And it worked. On occasion it got stretched, sometimes shrunk, but overall an elastic system that helped them to survive at times the worst of tyrants. Actually it was better than anything the Greeks or Spartans had managed in Ari’s own day.

          And, aye, here’s the rub for now, but only if Donald’s rants aren’t drowning it out. We’ve got a guy not elected by the majority but by a well-placed minority (our so-called and controversial Electoral College); who thinks he’s god (as did the emperors); and who’s broken the balance-of-power via political sycophants (the U.S. Congress—both Houses). A recipe for temporary success—and ultimate disaster.

          I’m old enough to remember 20th century tyrants, notable for having everything go right for a time; their growing approval by a populace who thought he could do no wrong; but in time were swinging by their heels or avoiding judgment by killing themselves and/or their own children, and in rather short periods of time. We don’t work that way here, at least I hope so; we just want a plausible outcome, a democracy that bends and flexes, swings and sways, but always holding together—and always one of laws, not of men, however good or bad.

          Thus, as so many of us flounder, feeling dis-empowered and regularly insulted by our own president, there’s a message herein for the leader himself:

          Fear nothing now. But fear the future. And fear yourself. And then be very, very afraid.


         

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