It was the San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, who spoke with sadness after November’s election, and due to his stature and general unwillingness to talk about anything anytime, people listened.
“I’m still sick to my stomach, and not basically because the Republicans won or anything,” Popovich said, “but the disgusting tenor, tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.”
And in what was, for the coach, a lengthy statement he finished with this: “My final conclusion is, my big fear is, we are Rome,” he said.
Rome burned in 64 A.D., with nearly three-quarter of the city destroyed and about half the population left homeless. The Emperor at the time was Nero, who according to History.com was the butt of a local accusation that he had “fiddled while Rome burned.”
Nero was an easy target for popular derision in 64 A.D. The historian Tacitus, writing one generation later, reported that the Emperor focused much of his attention on diplomacy, trade and enhancing the cultural life of the empire, ordering theatres built and promoting athletic games, but was viewed by the people as compulsive and corrupt.
And this is where it starts to seem so familiar. We’re a little over 60 days into the presidency of His Petulance, and his antics have already begun to wear on us all.
There’s an actual website that catalogs daily the fresh horror that The Current President and his allies have visited up on us.
Recent blog entries, in the blog called What The Fuck Just Happened Today, began with the headline “Ultimatum.” By the end of the day, above a bullet point that said “House leaders pull Obamacare repeal bill,” was a new headline: “Art of the Deal.”
And the hits just kept coming. Succeeding bullet points said:
- “Trump blames Democrats for his health care defeat.”
- “It’s time for Ivanka to . . . stand for women,” a challenged issued by the president of Planned Parenthood.
- [Rep. Adam] “Schiff: New evidence shows possible Trump-Russia collusion.”
- [Rep. Devon] “Nunes cancels Tuesday’s public hearing with the former director of National Intelligence, CIA director, and attorney general.”
- “ICE is targeting sanctuary cities with raids.”
- And to cap it all off, a little news on the jobs front: “Treasury secretary ‘not at all’ worried about robots taking jobs.”
If that cloud over the White House on Friday wasn’t Roman in appearance, then we need to hope that the government will begin issuing to all of us the same thing they’re smoking inside.
History.com reports that when the great Roman fire began, Nero was 35 miles outside the city, and he quickly made his way back to direct relief measures. But by then the people had already begun to distrust him.
When he used land that had been cleared by the fire for his Golden Palace and its surrounding pleasure gardens, the rumors began that Nero had set the fire himself. He himself blamed the Christians (then a tiny religious sect) for the fire, and had many arrested and executed.
But there is one thing to note about Nero: He reigned 14 years (54 A.D. to 68 A.D.), but he was the last leader in the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
The Current President has his own fires to battle, unluckily for us.