Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cakes and Circuses

The Roman Empire was perhaps the greatest empire the world has ever seen. It doesn't take a trained eye to see how Roman civilization has impacted the world over and still does. You can see Ancient Rome's fingerprints all over our culture here in the States. Our very government and rule of law has its foundations in Rome - i.e. division of power between branches, election of representatives (Senators), the courts, passage of legislation, political campaigns, etc. We even imitate Roman architecture in our State and National seats of power (i.e. capitols).

The similarities with Rome don't end there. Our successes as empires have been unique in our respective human eras. Other empires before Rome paled in comparison in terms of power and size. For the last 234 years, there has been no other nation on the face of the Earth like the United States of America. Have you ever heard of people flocking to Europe to pursue "The European Dream"? And with that uniqueness comes a burden of a different sort. We, like the Romans, had to contend with rising powers from without regularly. Unfortunately for Rome and maybe our society as well, the Achilles heel lies within our borders. Rome's success and lust for power made it into a bloated, drunk animal vulnerable to a neighboring enemy desperate enough to topple it (Gauls). It became slovenly in large part because those at the top of the political food chain realized they could have all the power they wanted by simply giving the people enough "cakes and circuses" to keep them occupied, content with the way things were. Their plan worked to perfection but it paved the way for an unintended consequence - the fall of their beloved empire.

Fast forward a couple of millenia and we have, seemingly, the same thing playing out again in the US. As of right now, we are the world's lone superpower. We are the standard for what a functioning, democratic society looks like. Our soldiers have spilled blood for the cause of freedom the world over and has fought back against tyranny, oppression, fascism and terrorism. Our soldiers continue this effort to this very moment so we can enjoy the freedom and liberty our founders so wisely framed via the Constitution (
not too bad for a bunch of White guys eh Clare Shipman?) We would do well to mimic the resolve of our fighting forces to take on those within our society who wish to consolidate power for themselves to achieve their self-serving purposes. I believe there are influential, powerful people both in politics and the media that have an agenda that is destroying this country from the inside out. They, like their Roman predecessors, know that they can hold sway over the great unwashed masses with the modern-day version of cakes and circuses called entitlements and entertainment.

And it is this that could be our nation's undoing if we as citizens allow it to be. Our future is at stake because our economic situation is in dire condition. We are in the midst of a debt crisis with a President and a Democrat-controlled Senate at the controls who feel we need to spend more to right the ship - the very same side of the aisle who have made it their
mission to deride Paul Ryan for putting forth a serious plan to deal with our debt and excessive entitlement spending without coming up with a plan of their own. Couple that with the sensational nature of our media and it makes for a cocktail of destruction. Instead of holding our elected officials accountable for the fact that there are now 44 million (almost 1 in 6) Americans on food stamps, the MSM is spending countless hours diving through 24,000 pages of a certain non-elected citizen's e-mails.

There's nothing we can't do as Americans. We proved that time and time again. But if we think we can take our way of life for granted by choosing to focus on what fills our bellies and keeps us entertained, our fate will be no different from the Romans. Noted philosopher George Santayana stated, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
We must take seriously the responsibility that comes with the freedom we enjoy by being vigilant and understanding the part we play in ensuring that the America our children inherit is determined by what we do today.

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
LinkMatt 4:4

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