Friday, May 5, 2017

Do We Need An Emperor?

[We  might not, but the government may.]

For years, I've been toying with notions of parallels between the late Roman Republic and our own US governmental mess. It is a mess, you understand, at nearly every level, though for the most part, its mechanisms function more or less well most of the time.

The problems are mostly at the ideological and leadership levels. The almost universal operating paradigm is what I call neoLibCon. That is to say, it is a fusion of neoliberal domestic and economic policies together with neoconservative foreign policies. There are many complexities (and surprising levels of denial) along the way. It's not a binary "this or that," it's a multiplicity of "this and that."

The government has run rogue at the top for many years, at least since the days of Clinton and Gingrich hammering away at one another. I saw it as Gingrich's attempt to reanimate and replay the English Civil War with himself as Cromwell to Clinton's Charles I.

The struggle and pageant didn't end well for either of the main characters, but it had a profound effect on government and the electorate. Lessons were learned. Primarily, the lesson was that that Leaders can get away with pretty much anything they want, so long as they keep their constituents entertained (bread and circuses), but they may not succeed in reaching their goals (for example, impeaching and removing Clinton from office.) But then, was that ever their goal? We can't be sure, can we?

Perhaps the impeachment saga took place to diminish the aura of the presidency. Or rather to diminish the aura of Democratic presidents while enhancing that of Republican presidents and legislators.

A sort of sideways statement that we are ruled by Rs no matter which party holds congressional majorities and the White House.

It's not just that they are the ruling party, they are the only legitimate party; the Ds exist merely as foils.

For as long as I've been playing on the intertubez, I've noticed a strong animus toward the Democrats, to the point of urging and working for the "utter destruction" of the Democratic Party. That's almost a core principle for the internet political junkies and denizens. Democrats delenda est! 

They are betrayers, feckless, worse than Rs, and corrupt as hell. Yes? And? Democrats must be destroyed!

Well, OK. But if they are the Washington Generals to the Republican Harlem Globetrotters, then the whole thing is just a show, a pageant, with a pre-determined outcome, meant to entertain the rubes while the real work (and money counting) goes on in the back office somewhere. It's a game, a show, a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

So if that's the case, do we need an Emperor instead of a president? Perhaps to be above the president?

Trump of course is inadequate to the role. Octavian was a masterful politician and bullshitter, however, and it was apparently easy for him to elide the roles he assumed and created (once the civil war was done). He "preserved and protected" the Republic while essentially doing away with it.

Is that what we need?

Sometimes I wonder.

The fantasy world that many Trump supporters, defenders and loyalists created around their devotion is still very strong. To some, Trump is their longed for "God-Emperor," who can never fail, he can only be failed. They actually use the term "God-Emperor" in their devotions. Their longing for... something.... is so strong, they can't see the flim-flam and fraudulence of what they're getting. Those who do see it recoil in disgust.

And yet... I'm convinced Trump won't last in office (but I've been wrong about coups and such, so we'll see.) It doesn't actually matter whether he serves out his term or not. What matters is what comes After Trump, and my sense is that a precedent is being set which will solidify the oligarchic rule we've been under for many years and enable direct rule from the palaces of our Overlords, one of whom will be periodically selected to be Emperor. We will have good Emperors and bad.

The Republic, then, having given up the ghost, will be lost forever after.

But then maybe it was inevitable.

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