Today’s news, centered on this year’s presidential contest, leaves me somewhat distraught with my fellow citizens, who voice opinions and beliefs without benefit of the truth or simply distort the facts or resort to name calling. Polite behavior is absent as emotions take over.
Pundits and journalists point out the errors and falsehoods in political speeches to no avail. Extreme supporters of many of the primary candidates are not swayed by facts or the limitations of political promises. Candidates’ positions are formulated solely to respond to the mob’s emotional urging for support of their interests.
Since the time of the early Greeks, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle taught that democratic government, more than any other form, was the most susceptible to upheaval and change. Unless these changes are handled in a peaceful and orderly manner, with all parties exercising restraint and compromise, these dynamics can eventually lead to tyranny.
The bombastic behavior of Donald Trump during the recent Republican primary season is the clearest case in point. His tactics and speeches in pursuit of the nomination for the highest office in the land has created a general unease in the American populace. His bullying of both friend and foe alike and flagrant disregard for proper behavior has prompted at least one observer to label him the “modern personification of fascism.”
Watching his antics, I am reminded of the internet quote, often mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare or Julius Caesar, “And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”