…have their holes and hiding places; but the men who fight and die for Italy enjoy only the light and the air.” Tiberius Gracchus, 133 B. C.
According to Will Durant, “Rome remained great as long as she had enemies who forced her to unity, vision, and heroism. When she had overcome them all she flourished for a moment and then began to die.”
After the final and total destruction of Carthage in 150 B.C. the Romans ruled the known world. They were the uncontested superpower of their time, sort of the way the United States was after we succeeded in destroying the Soviet Union. Just seventeen years after this supreme triumph, Tiberius Gracchus led the attack on Roman Law which succeeded briefly, and then continued over the course of a century in fits and starts, with the Agrarian Revolt, the Social War, Sulla and finally Caesar.
Roman Law, or the Twelve Tables, was their Constitution, and the reason they were a Republic for over four hundred years. When they lost their Constitution, the law was dead and so was the Republic, and Roman freedom. All of this was very familiar to the Framers. In Philadelphia they were duplicating and improving upon the work of the ancient Roman sages who wrote the Twelve Tables 2,466 years ago. And they saw a fatal defect, which they remedied. For the Twelve Tables were incapable of Amendment. There was no mechanism within them that allowed the people to make fundamental change. They had no Article V.
The election is a little more than six months away, and I’m starting to recoil in disgust. It was always clear that a fight between Clinton and Trump would be a race to the bottom. The gun has sounded, the race is on, and we’ve got six months of this stuff to put up with. Two thoroughly disreputable people, wrestling in the gutter, for the Presidency of my country. To me, this is the failure of politics, and the American political class, of which I am a member. It’s embarrassing.
But Article V marches on. We need it now more than ever. If the people of this country, acting through their state legislators, take enough time away from the television set to demand change, it will come. But watching TV is easy. Getting involved takes effort. If we lose our country, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.
I’ve testified on behalf the Article V BBA before legislative committees in Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. I try to make the point that Article V is the key to the restoration of federalism in this country, but I don’t think they believe or understand me. It’s as though Article V is some weird part of the Constitution that’s never been used because it’s dangerous. They’ve never heard of Article V before our Resolution came to their committee, and they don’t know what to think of it.
This is why the Assembly of State Legislatures meeting in Philadelphia next month is important, as well as inclusion of Article V in the Republican Platform. It legitimizes Article V to these state legislators. These guys aren’t constitutional scholars. They’re ranchers and small businessmen. They need to be reassured that this is all legit.
We’re not Rome, we’re Americans, and we can avoid the fate of the Roman Republic. People like Trump arise when there’s been a failure of politics, and the entire political class, and Trump/Clinton 2016 is proof of our collective failure. As the political class of Italy, Spain and Germany failed in the early 20th Century, we got Mussolini, Franco and Hitler.
Maybe Trump isn’t another Mussolini, though he acts like him. Look at some old footage of Il Duce, and see him strut and stick out his chin like the Donald. It’s quite a resemblance, actually.
But Trump doesn’t aspire to be Il Duce. He wants to be Vladimir Putin. And he doesn’t really care about the Constitution. He’s a fundamentally ignorant man. He needs to lose.
I’ve despised Bill Clinton from the time I first saw him at the 1988 Democratic Convention. The thing is, Clinton just raises the hackles on my back, like no other politician. It’s personal. I’ve actually fantasized about punching him out. And he may be headed back to the White House.
But I expect to out live him, and I will piss on his grave.