Like many Americans I’m a huge sports fan. I like a number of different sporting events from NASCAR to football. Most team sports are a combination of individual effort and teamwork with a goal of winning. Whether you participate or you’re a spectator, we all tend to get caught up in the games. For a moment in time our troubles seem to lessen as we cheer on our favorite team or player. We experience their successes and failures as if they were our own. Yes that’s right for a moment in time we are distracted from everyday events and all things feel right with sports; we are entertained and happy for it.
In the last days of the Roman Republic the senate was corrupt and for sale to the highest bidder. The people were restless with their elected officials as the senate stripped more and more of their liberties away. They felt like their voices were being ignored. A new political threat from opportunistic generals was on the horizon. Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar were positioning themselves for power with the First Triumvirate. Rome was fundamentally changing and the people could feel it. Marcus Tullius Cicero a champion for the people and a powerful orator stood up and challenged the corruption in the senate and called for a return to the old republic. People started listening to the words of this man as it threatened to halt Rome’s drift towards an empire. It was time to distract the people from their troubles. Let the games begin. The crafty politicians and generals decided that the best way to subdue the mob was to entertain them with games. With games the people did not need to trouble themselves with the daily mundane activities of the senate and politicians. In fact in 65 BC, Julius Caesar spent an enormous amount of money to entertain the masses with games and the people loved it!
Eventually Caesar emerged as the leading political figure after a series of civil wars. He was given the title of dictator for life by the senate and in-turn he greatly diminished the senate’s powers. Rome remained a republic in name only. How similar these events seem today.
Today we are faced with comparable threats to our own republic. Our senate is corrupt, and opportunistic forces are on the horizon to fundamentally change our nation. Our Constitution is under constant attack and our history is being watered down by a new progressive version of it. The people are feeling restless and uneasy about the events of the day. They feel that something doesn’t feel right and their voices are not being heard. We now see Tea Party rallies and they are growing in size as more and more people recognize that our republic’s survival hangs in the balance. This is a time when we should be focused on the powerful political shifts that are taking place in the nation in regards to the relationship between the government and the people. This is the time when people should be digging for information about the Founding Fathers and reading our Constitution. This is the time when people should be standing up to save the republic from the destructive path our government has us on. And yet when I listened to people today at work, all I heard were people debating if Butler could beat Duke in the NCAA basketball championship. I heard people talking about the Donovan McNabb trade to the Washington Redskins and what it means for the NFC East. The people were entertained and talking about something other than the plight of our republic. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with finding an escape every now and then from our troubles, however when I see this I can’t help but recall my Roman history and the pivotal role games played in its transformation.
You see Americans love competition much like the Romans did. We love the games because like I said they sweep us up and lessen our worries for a short time. They allow us to be part of something we perceive is bigger than ourselves. However in the end they distract us from what we should be really focusing on. I once said that if people would commit one fourth of the energy that they have towards their favorite sports team and channel that energy towards our Constitution and the Founders we would not even be in this mess. We would be a nation grounded in the principles of our Founders and following our Constitution. Instead we are becoming a republic in name only. Can we can find this one fourth to save our wonderful republic or do we lessen our worries through games and allow the republic to slip away?
History is always whispering in our ears. Maybe if we pull our heads out of the games for a short time we will hear what history is trying telling us.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!
Original Post: The Current
Image Credit: Impeach Obama Now