Trump’s Crossing Of The American Rubicon

When the Donald rode the escalator down Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 to announce his candidacy for president of the United States, it mirrored Julius Cesar’s 49 BC crossing of the Rubicon River in northern Italy. In Cesar’s case it was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic, and in Trump’s much later situation it likely marks the begging of the end of American democracy.

You see it was once the law that great Roman generals were not permitted to bring their conquering armies any closer to Rome than the Rubicon river as the Roman senate rightly feared the raw power that a general possessed in commanding such a huge, loyal army. In the end the Roman senate raised its own army to take on the mighty ambitious Cesar, and after a game of tag the two forces finally clashed at the Battle of Pharsalus on 9 August 48 BC. Though the senate’s army was the larger of the two contending forces it was no match for Cesar’s battle tested veterans.

Following his victory Cesar set up his despotic dictatorship until he was stabbed to death by a mob of senators five years later on the Ides of March — the 15th. The senate rejoiced that Rome was once again free. Unfortunately Rome’s Republicans had not considered the massive faithful following of rabble citizenry that Cesar had brought to his support.

Unnerved by Cesar’s killing Rome never did revert back to a true Republic, but instead engaged in ending tit-for-tat killings and civil wars. Likewise, even though Trump will most likely be defeated in the next general election, it is quite possible that his large fanatical following will never except such a defeat as legitimate. Moreover, facing considerable jail time once he is out of office, no doubt that the Donald will stir up as much support for that kink of thinking as possible. So who is to say whether true democracy will ever again be reestablished upon Trump’s defeat at the polls, or like in the case of Rome a highly divided American nation will simply degenerate into endless violence.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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