TRUMP AS HISTORY
And so, like everyone else in the World, the Reverend Hellfire reflects on the recent election of Donald Trump, and considers the historical precedents..
TRUMP AS HISTORY
History, so it is said, repeats itself;
the first time as Tragedy,
the next time as Farce.
It was perhaps with this thought in mind that the Kitchen Brains’ Trust, found itself in deep debate as
to which historical figure President-elect Donald Trump most resembled.
Hitler, of course, was a strong contender. “It’s the Weimar Republic all over again!”, one advisor declared, shaking their shaggy, greying locks sadly,
“with Hitler/Trump making Germany/the USA ‘Great’ again by focusing on racial or religious scapegoats, Mexicans and Ay-rabs this time instead of Jews and Communists.
Hell he’s got a mob of good ole boys that are clearly eager brown-shirts-in-waiting..the KKK will be his SS. This will probably be the last election America will have, there’ll be a fake crisis..some fool will try to burn down the Reichstag sorry I mean the White House or something, and like Chancellor Hitler ‘Emergency Measures’ will be declared suspending normal democratic Institutions. As President he’s Commander-in-Chief so all he has to do is cut a deal with the Generals. I tell you Krystal Nacht is just around the corner”.
“Nonsense”, replied an inebriated advisor, “the man is Mussolini come again! Look at the way he struts and pouts his hour upon stage.. the arrogant jaw, the sneer of cold command..It’s uncanny!
And Mussolini was a big believer in rebuilding the Glorious Past too, in his case it was the dream of re-establishing the Roman Empire, which led to grandiose projects like raising the wreck of Nero‘s giant pleasure cruisers from the seabed, and invading Ethiopia.
And lets not forget the overt machismo! The sexual aggression! Mussolini was notorious not only for his many mistresses but also for raping a female reporter who had gone to interview him”.
But I demurred, “No my friends, I disagree, although I think we were getting closer to the mark with Mussolini. I think we have to cast our memories further back.
What we are seeing is not the end of the Weimar Republic but the end of the Roman Republic, and the man we are looking at is non other than the richest man in Rome,
Marcus Licinius Crassus.
Yes, there are many similarities to our own time in the last years of the Roman Republic, when a series of so-called ‘Great Men’,
acquired such enormous power and influence that the normal political functioning became completely destabilised. These populist ‘demagogues’ arose partly in response to the various chronic Institutional Crises that the Senate (the entrenched political class of the day) had proved incapable of dealing with, particularly when their own interests were threatened. Totally disgusted by their political elite, the Roman Plebs started voting for any Big Talking Opportunist who promised them what they wanted to hear; jobs, land, citizenship, the dole, etc. These Radical Demagogues also understood that by viciously attacking the Senate (“Drain the Swamp!”) they could ride the Plebians’ Anger into Power. One such “Populist” figure surrounded himself with an armed gang of gladiators which he laughingly called his “Anti-Senate”!
The habit of Roman politicians of maliciously pursuing their political enemies through the law courts to destroy them did nothing to ease political tensions at this time either, and undermined the Republics’ long term stability, something Trump might like to consider before starting an ‘investigation’ into Hilary.
Like Trump, Crassus was born rich and became richer through dodgy Real Estate deals. A favourite technique of his for acquiring land cheaply came through ‘fire sales’.
Crassus owned a private ‘fire-fighting’ business. He and his crews would turn up whenever there was a house-fire and he would then blackmail the owners into selling cheaply. Otherwise he let the place burn down. If they paid then the fire would be put out, they could rescue what was left of their possessions, and Crassus added another property to his portfolio.
But Crassus wasn’t satisfied with Wealth alone. Oh no, he wanted to exercise Power as well, and so he bought his way into becoming a major player in Roman politics, a fixer, a briber and a power-broker. Ultimately of course he became one of the Big Three, the ‘First Triumvirate’: that informal association of Crassus, Pompey and Caesar that controlled Roman Republic for over a decade and ultimately
sounded it’s Death Knell.
The Slave Rebellion of Spartacus was going on at this time too, and after a succession of poorly led Senatorial armies failed to crush the slaves, it fell to Crassus to restore order.
He, in a Trump-esque move, immediately decided to build a ‘Great Wall’ across the heel of Italy’s boot to contain and starve the rebel Horde. The slaves broke through the wall after brutal battle, but eventually he subdued the rebellion with ruthlessly savage efficiency, and then had captured rebel slaves hung on crucifixes lining the road to Rome for over five miles.
Yet Crassus was still dissatisfied. He didn’t feel he got the Praise he was due for subduing the Slave rebellion. ‘After all’, the Senate sniffed condescendingly, “they were only slaves..the scum of society..it’s not like he was fighting against a real army like Pompey and Sulla did, ey what?”
Yes he might have had Wealth and Power, but it wasn’t enough for Crassus. The craving grew within him for Military Glory as well.
“No-one builds a statue for a business man”,
he was heard to observe petulantly.
Jealous of Pompey and Caesar’s celebrated military Triumphs, he manufactured an excuse to launch an entirely gratuitous military expedition to what we now call, ‘the Middle East’. There he planned to fight (and plunder)the Parthians, who were based in the general area of today’s Iran and Iraq.
Ignoring public opinion and his own experienced military advisors, he marched 30,000 Roman soldiers into the Syrian desert, from which they never again emerged.
Crassus himself was captured by the ancestors of today’s ISIS, and forced to drink molten gold as an ironic punishment for his greed.
Without Crassus to balance the Triumvirate’s delicate balance of power, the rivalry of Pompey and Caesar burnt down the Republic’s democratic structure and from it’s ashes arose the evermore autocratic Roman Empire.
So will our very own Crassus lead us into the sinking desert sands of War in vain pursuit of Glory? Will his Hubris and Vanity bring down the Republic itself when he inevitably Falls, laid low by one of his many Fatal Flaws?
I don’t know, but there are exciting Times ahead, my friends”, I concluded, to the now silent Brains Trust, “There are Exciting Times ahead”.
The Reverend Hellfire.
It’s not the Heat it’s the Humidity.