Posted by: Sandy Graham | September 27, 2020

Destruction Rolls On

There was a time when elected senators were accorded only slightly less respect and honor than governors. Men of strong moral fiber, integrity, and ability to represent the needs of their region and all its citizens thousands of miles from the national capital. They travelled for days, sometimes weeks, to sit in session with colleagues from across the nation to review legislation with an eye to ensuring all were treated fairly.

Judges were elected based on their experience, knowledge of the law and ability to follow it impartially. Only the best rose to the highest court. Judges and senators provided the backbone that put civility into their civilization and the Roman Empire flourished as a result.

It’s logical to ask what could stop such a system. Some historians give credit to nomadic hordes eating away at far-flung empire boundaries, but a more insightful explanation is destruction from within. And nowhere was it more evident than in the senate. Lobbying led to special interest pandering that led to greed. Citizens’ needs were pushed aside to facilitate personal gain. Promises to constituents became empty in the search for the wealth slipped their way from the rich to whom they now swore allegiance. The welfare of the Empire no longer mattered, its defense weakened by neglect and loss of support from a disenfranchised public.

Plato was right in his belief that democracies are destroyed from within, degenerating into authoritarian or dictatorial regimes until revolution reverses the cycle again.

Two thousand years later a new nation was formed, patterned after the glory days of Rome. It was also called a republic, gave the vote to male citizens considered capable to vote responsibly. The capital even copied Roman architecture.  Noble ideals were embedded in its constitution, a constitution which was to be the final authority on how the nation was to be governed. Like Rome, these noble ideals only applied to accepted citizens, not their slaves nor the displaced original inhabitants of their territory.

Despite this imperfection, the nation grew strong and a world war made it a global leader. It became a beacon of freedom for downtrodden people in other countries. It even made some steps toward freedom and equality for the downtrodden within its border. Until the rot that ruined Rome set in and nowhere is it more evident than in the senate. Integrity has fallen victim to greed. Partisan actions are taken with impunity. And it carries over to the judicial branch. No longer can citizens rely on the justice system to enforce the Constitution. No longer can they expect an administration to look out for their welfare. And like Rome, the destruction rolls on.

In a little over a month, the fate of the American Democracy will be decided. Either it will fall entirely or be given a slim opportunity for survival. Slim because the issue is not simply one party versus the other. A complete overhaul of American culture is needed: conciliation rather than partisan politics, human respect for each other in place of racism, universal welfare instead of economic inequality, civil responsibility eradicating lawlessness. A formidable mountain to climb yet clearly preferable to the dark age that lies in the other direction.

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