History teaches us many lessons. It took one Julius Caesar a few years to end the Roman Republic that lasted over five hundred years and plunged Western Civilization for 1,800 years under the total control of Emperors, Kings, and Tsars, until that fateful day in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, when Ben Franklin declared, “A republic … if you can keep it.”
Donald Trump, like Caesar, has demonstrated over and over that he too has no regard for the checks and balances that make up our Constitution and will destroy the republic that has lasted for over two hundred years. Fortunately, history need not be repeated.
The End of the Republic
Trump is not a Republican. He’s the very antithesis of traditional Republican values. Trump is the Julius Caesar of our times. He claims not to need a Congress or Senate… “I alone can fix it.” Anyone in his way is an enemy of the state and is not good for “his” country. He’s a self-obsessed man with no self-control. He placates to the rich and those senators who bow to him and metaphorically kiss his ring while attempting to appeal to his Plebeian base (Commoners), all to suit his purpose with no regard to the Constitution. The generals that he so proudly claimed were “his generals” at the beginning of his term have all rejected him and thus have been replaced by a close group of sycophants and “yes” men.
The Nomination and Triumph
The Republican convention was the triumph march for Trump (Caesar) that was attended by those who feared him and those who blindly follow him. The whole nation watched. Watch parties from coast to coast were held by his followers celebrating the event. It was a TV show worthy of Trump and the ratings he so much desires. All of this in front of the People’s House, our White House, with fireworks as a backdrop to top it off. The only thing missing was the laurel wreath over his head and the slave whispering in his ear of his mortality.
This happened before. The danger both then and now is the loss of our freedom. With no Senate or Congress – and no Constitution – we must be careful.
1787 – We Have a Republic!
The hard work was over at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, on September 17, 1787. As the story goes, Mrs. Powell of Philadelphia, a political figure in her own right, asked Benjamin Franklin “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” to which he replied, “A REPUBLIC … IF YOU CAN KEEP IT.” Of course, those events are clouded in the past and we’ll never know exactly what happened. That’s not important now. What is important, however, is that Trump is dangerously close to destroying it.
Benjamin Franklin and the founding fathers worked hard to create our Constitution, the “imperfect” document that has withstood the test of time. The United States, including the Thirteen Colonies, was precariously close to collapsing after the Revolution under the Articles of the Confederation. Money was owed for the revolution, state debts were mounting, printed money was worthless, and there was no central government to hold us together. Yet, they came up with a document – a rule of law – a Constitution would grow with the Nation. And they wrote the rules to administer this constitution, the checks and balances.
Ben Franklin was a lifelong believer in Freedom of the Press. He was a newspaperman himself who would have been enraged to hear the words,” fake news”. He was near the end of his life (he died two years later on April 17, 1790), plagued with gout. This was the Republic that would outlast the Roman Republic.
Gaius Julius Caesar and Donald John Trump
Over 2,500 years ago, the Roman Republic (of which our Founding Fathers modeled our nation) was established. The Roman Republic, which began around 500 BCE and ended in 27 BCE, was a democracy founded on the ideals of the democracies of Athens and Greece. The Roman Senate wanted no kings or dictators and made it a point to assure that it would never happen in Rome – they had checks and balances.
Enter Julius Caesar… who shares an alarming similarity to Donald Trump, even in owing large sums of money and finding dubious ways to overcome his debt. Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman, a Populares, a populist, a political faction who favored and played to the needs of the plebeians – the common man – while he placated the senate. The people who Julius opposed where the Optimates, also known as the “good men,” was a conservative political faction in the late Roman Republic. This sounds like the Republicans to me.
After a series of civil wars where Romans fought against Romans, Julius marched into Rome a triumph, a parade, to honor himself. The Senate was appalled at this brazen self-aggrandizement and grandiosity but fearing retribution they stayed silent. Similarly, Donald Trump accepted the nomination on the South Lawn at the White House, with the White House, the People’s House, as a prop, as he honored and praised himself while the old guard Republicans, who were not all present at his “triumph” stayed silent. In 46 BCE, Caesar gave himself the title of “Prefect of the Morals” or as Trump said on Aug 21, 2019, “I am the chosen one.” Hmm… this is getting scary.
Rise to Power and End of the Republic
During Caesar’s rise to power, he set out to pass an ambitious legislative agenda, similarly to Trump, that included a debt-restructuring law, expanding the empire, redistributed land, land reforms, a police force (for law and order), and grand infrastructure projects throughout the empire. He also reformed the tax system. These programs that were mostly executed by Augustus, were, as you can see, very popular amongst the masses, and his opponents profited too. But little by little, while the Optimates stayed reticent, he chipped away at their powers and their republic. Why stop a good thing? Does this sound familiar?
Some wanted to protect the republic and took matters into their own hands assassinating Julius on March 15, 44 BCE. But the story didn’t end there. His nephew, and adoptive son, Octavius, later known as Augustus, took over the position of the first emperor of the Roman Empire and thus the demise of the Roman Republic. Interestingly, the next two hundred years were called the Pax Romana, Roman Peace, but that peace came at a high price for democracy.
From then on the democracies that began in Greece and Rome ended and humankind was plunged into 1,800 years under the thumbs of Emperors, Kings, Tsars, Tyrants, and Despots with complete rule over their subjects until that fateful day in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, when Ben Franklin declared to Mrs. Powell, “A republic… if you can keep it.”
Vote for The Constitution
History teaches us many lessons but it is for naught if we refuse to learn. It took one Julius Caesar a few years to destroy the Roman Republic that lasted for over five hundred years. I do not want one Donald Trump to destroy our Constitution and our republic that has lasted for nearly three hundred years.
Our Constitution, our republic, and our freedom mean so much more to me than any political party. I will choose candidates that best represent the ideals and beliefs that are embedded in our souls and memorialized in our Constitution. Fortunately, history does not need to be repeated. We have a chance to prevent the demise of our republic.
Donald Trump, and those who aid him, will not have my support or my vote.