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3/26/01

STRAPPADO WRACK

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Gladiator or Tyrant?

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Now that we know that Maximus has won the accolades, can we hope that the same will be earned by our current leader? Or will he fall under the spell of power; and abuse the trust of the Republic? To date, 'W' is no Commodus, but neither is he a Marcus Aurelius. Whether he will adopt the courage and strength of will of General Maximus Decimus Meridius, only time and the judgment of the crowds will know. The vestiges of the Republic lingers, even as the Empire emerges; and the test of this lone star cowboy will be if he knows the difference and walks the walk.

The style has not exactly been a spectacle that rivals the games in the Coliseum, but nor has the body count reflected comparable causalities. But you say that this country is not at war, so why do we need a general? It is true that the barbarians have retreated to the frontiers, but the mob still clamors for more bread and a never ending circus. The hordes may not presently be from Germania, but the plebeians within the city are not natural born Romans. And the institutions of government have long ignored the counsel and wisdom of the Senate.

The masses respond to the Proximo's of this world, for their skill at creating the show and their art to entertain, which keeps them fat and happy. The consensus of accepting the rules of Caesars is known by all. For the penalties for resistance are swift and cruel. He is Rome and we all must bow, or become one of the next round of warriors for the games. 'W', will you seek the guidance that Constantine followed, even at the risk of ridicule and treachery from within your own Praetorian Guard? For most regimes fall from within, and because those that you has entrusted, may well follow the voices of their own gain.

But this assumes that you are different from all the rest. That you have seen the profound insight of Marcus Aurelius, and have pledged to restore the glory that was once Rome. The heights of that achievement was when the people had their voices heard by their Senate Representatives and each inhabitant freely accepted their responsibilities as a citizen. This was the dream and final bequest that Marcus sought. Maximus honored this goal and died in its pursuit. The second chance that the General bestowed, was squandered by those who followed. 'W', what will be your course, and will you risk your own comfort and safety in this war for the soul of our Nation?

The forum is active with support for your reign, but will you stop those 'Games' and return to the 'People', the money that they have already overpaid? By comparison to what today's Americans contribute, the sums from yesterday are but a small measure of the burden we now bear. The inducements to conform and accept the rule of an Emperor are suited to this age, for they deceive and distort the rights we relinquish. While those who rebel are fed to the beasts, that feed the appetite of the mobs for more pleasure, at the expense of their own neighbor. The greed for power that Commodus revered, and the killing of his own father, by his own hands; is much like the lust that Elite's conspire to slay the Republic that they despise and fear. So if you, Mr President, want to follow that cross, become like the General and stand against the crowd that your own father befriended and reclaim a heritage, that for far too long, has been put to shame. Become a Gladiator like Maximus, and rule like Constantine, because if you fail to seek this path, you may well become your own Commodus.

SARTRE - March 26, 2001

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