Trump looks upon the Norwegians as ideal immigrant/citizen material, a sentiment even your friendly neighborhood white guy in America feels deep within but is too polished to admit. A white American would rather have a white Christian Anglo-Saxon European as an immigrant.
I understand that sentiment all too well. Why, my nation of birth – India – wrote the original encyclopedia on it. You wouldn’t believe the level of racism, bigotry and intolerance that exists within the hearts of a sizeable percentage of India’s majority Hindus. Indians worship the color white. It is the only country in the universe where “Fair and Lovely” – a phony skin cream – is the top selling cosmetic.
Roman citizens firmly believed in pretty much the same thing as Trump and his deplorables – that they were racially superior to the rest of the world. To the Romans, Hispanians were hotheads, Greeks were slippery, Egyptians were other-worldly, Phoenicians were greedy, Persians wore too much perfume and the Nubians(Sudanese) were plain dumb. The Romans too (like Trump) had their ideal immigrant material – the Greeks. Just as Trump sees Norwegians – and by extension, all white Europeans – as equals, so did the Romans see the Greeks as equals.
There were exceptions in Rome too though. Some immigrants made it big, really big. The great Septimius Severus (145-211AD) was born a brown-skinned son of Libyan immigrants. Historians unanimously hailed him as one of most effective Emperors that Rome ever had. Perhaps he wasn’t as white as some of his marble busts make him out to be. Rome those days just wasn’t as color conscious as America is today.
One does not have to look far to see that modern America too has had it’s Septimiuses – Barack Hussein Obama, for example – to much of the outside world, one of the best Presidents America has ever had.
Let’s look at other similarities between ancient Rome and today’s America…..
Take the geography. Rome had a natural fortification to the north – the mountains of Cisalpine Gaul (Swiss Alps today) sat like a motorcycle helmet at the very neck where the ‘leg’ of Italy joins the rest of Europe – the only land route in and out. Over the centuries, the Huns, the Goths, the Gauls and the Vandals tried their best to move battalions over the rugged 3000-metre, snow-bound mountain passes and by the time the exhausted, frost-bitten grunts got to the other side, the well-nourished Roman Legions were waiting. On the other three sides, Rome had vast seas – the Tyrrhenian in the west, the Adriatic to the east and the Mediterranean below. Thus, Roman citizens remained untouched by direct land-based invasions for a millennium, before they finally gave in – weakened by the comforts of a good life – to the Huns.
Likewise, America is secured by the Atlantic and the Pacific. It has docile puppy dogs, Canada and Mexico, on the other two sides, both acting as impregnable buffers. America has never had to defend itself against a direct military invasion. I suspect American citizens are at a stage similar to Rome in 400AD, bloated by conspicuous consumption and an obese, spoon-fed, couch potato, reality TV-soaked populace that gets easily spooked by rumors and fake news and has absolutely zero stomach for a real fight. Who knows who America’s Huns shall be but as history shows, it is only a matter of time.
Special interest groups and rich donors – not the citizens – have always decided who was going to rule in both, ancient Rome and present-day Trump America.
Politics has always been the road to personal wealth. The American EPA Secretary, Scott Pruitt, exploits his position to benefit the oil oligarchy in the US and systematically degrade the environment to his benefit. Two thousand years back the Roman quaestor, Hadrian, curried favour with Emperor Trajan to help friends and relatives forcibly acquire property from ordinary citizens and sell influence.
Hadrian eventually succeeded Trajan as Emperor. During his reign, he had columns and monoliths erected proclaiming that he was the best, most popular, most effective Roman Emperor ever. He even got his Bithynian male servant and lover, Antinous, deified into a God and then built a city called Antinopolis in Egypt, in the boy’s honor. Some reports suggest that Antinokins got drunk during an orgy on the Nile and fell overboard the royal yacht and drowned. Others say that in fact, Hadrian had the boy thrown overboard when he caught him giving one of the Praetorian Guardsmen a blowjob.
Both, Rome and America, have constantly and deliberately heightened their security concerns to distract attention from domestic challenges and to spy on their own. Enough circumstantial evidences exist that point to conspiracies within most of America’s history-shifting events :- the assassination of JFK, the case for war in Iraq and in the same context, even 9/11 itself.
Ancient Rome too was rife with conspiracies. Marcus Aurelius’s son, Commodus, warded off multiple assassination attempts until he was finally strangled to death in his bathtub. Commodus was played by Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott’s 2000 film “Gladiator”. Russell Crowe’s General Maximus was a fictional character, though.
Both, Rome and America, had very very itchy fingers. They actively fomented wars which could easily have been avoided. America has had it’s Guatemala, Nicaragua, Vietnam and the ongoing Iraq, to name just a few. In fact over the past hundred years, there have been American ‘boots on the ground’ fighting to secure it’s hegemony somewhere or the other at almost all times. Rome too fought so frequently that it’s citizens did not see beyond one continuous year of peace at a time for nearly the entirety of it’s 1200-year existence, from 800BC to 400AD.
After the assassination of Julius Caesar and the blood bath that followed, Octavius came to power as Rome’s first Emperor in 43BC. From a Republic, controlled and administered by the Senate, Rome switched to an absolute monarchy. The Roman Senate (a group of around 400 rich and influential wheeler-dealers) ceded all it’s influence to the Emperor. Rome’s elite were reduced to currying favor and lobbying with the Emperor, turning themselves into yes-men. The quaestors, generals and governors increasingly began to use the loot from their foreign conquests to influence the Emperor’s decision-making and through it, shape Rome’s domestic policy. Rome’s elite had their own influential king-makers : the Ciceros, the Catilinas, the Catos, the Macedonicuses, the Brutuses and the Cassiuses.
I see the same thing happening in America. There are the Kochs, Mercers, Murdochs, Adelsons and a cabal of Jewish billionaire donors who have had American presidents by the balls for decades.
Exactly as in ancient Rome, there really is no democracy left in America today.
Public policies no longer reflect the preferences of the majority of Americans. If it did, the country would look radically different in so many ways. I am a Canadian who lives in Canada and therefore forgive me if I am off the mark, but take a look at the list of stuff that could happen if America was a real democracy…….
- For starters, the one who won 3 million more votes would be President. Campaign finance would be strictly controlled. Gerrymandering and the consequent disenfranchisement of blacks and minorities would no longer decide elections.
- The wealthy would be taxed more, so that when the vet came home all shot up, there would be better rehabilitation for him.
- Those who take their Lord’s name in vain (the so called American Christian evangelicals) would retreat into their screw-ball churches and nut-job pulpits and cease to be a force in politics, ushering in an age of tolerance and the gradual acceptance of LGBTs, immigrants and minorities.
- Gun control laws would be much stricter.
- Paid parental leave would be the law of the land, public colleges would be free and the minimum wage would be higher.
- Abortions would be accessible without question, because it is the woman’s right to decide whether she should have the baby or she shouldn’t, regardless of the circumstances that led her to get knocked up.
- And lastly, that typically American urge to waste money ‘building democracies’ in other parts of the world by force would be drastically tempered since ordinary Americans are sick of that.
Oh, I forgot……marijuana would become freely available.