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"He is not a Liar"/"I am not a Crook": We have seen this Movie before
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2017-06-11 11:02:29
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We are now into the fifth month of what I have dubbed from its very inception “The Caligula Presidency.” Since the 20th of January, when the presidency of Donald Trump began, I have been writing a daily column by that title, to document some of the enormities already committed in five short months. I believe the worse is still to come.

Some of my friends and colleagues advised me to refrain from such a title designating a mad emperor of the Roman Empire some 2000 years ago. After all the man now sitting in the White House as alleged leader of the Free World is the president of the United States of America to whom a modicum of deference and respect is due; if not to him personally, to his exalted office.


To that kind of advice the only apt reply is that in a democratic system honoring free speech respect is earned, not bullied away by intimidation and abuse of power. It is in fact the image of a mad Roman emperor named Caligula, who reigned for five years which must have felt an eternity, that in my opinion, best conveys what it means for a polity to have reached a critical point of disease and dissolution when centrifugal forces take over and kill what used to be a Republic of Virtue; a republic as envisioned by a Plato in his Republic. All this despite the fact that Rome as an imperial power had some 300 more years of life left and an exemplary philosopher king, Marcus Aurelius, was to appear on the scene in 161 AD. Indeed cancer sometimes goes into remission, quite often it returns with a vengeance and becomes “the sickness unto death,” to employ Kirkegaardian language, unless it is caught and eliminated in its early stages.


To be sure nobody was yet predicting the dissolution of the Roman Empire in the years of Caligula reign (37 AD to 41 AD; less than four years), but those who remembered the ideals of the Republic of Virtue which was Rome at its origins, surely could have predicted it. It was enough to observe the popularity of a Caligula who has been rightly called a populist emperor. Republics and democracies have an uncanny way to correct their course even when that course is charted by an insane tyrant; something that non-democratic polities cannot even fathom, for a non-democratic system will think of power as the only possible solution to any and all political problems. We may yet be surprised at the outcome of the Russia/Trump campaign collution.  


Emperor Marcus Aurelius, author of The Meditations

Indeed, the parallels are uncanny. Here too what’s to come is predictable. There will probably not be an assassination by the Praetorian guards (the current Secrete Service) assigned to protect the Commander in Chief; but there may well be a political execution via the legal system of impeachment  or removal from office as provided within the democratic form of checks and balances by the US Constitution. We saw that with Watergate.

The reader may now inquire as to the basis of an impeachment by Congress. Well, it can happen for high crimes and misdemeanors, or for obstruction of justice, or for impediments to the performance of the duties of a President.

On Friday March 9, the day after the Comey public deposition there was an interview on Morning Joe of MSNBC of Democratic leader of the House Nancy Pelosi. When asked about her take on the Comey’s deposition before Congress and the ramifications and implications she predicted issuing from it, she said that we now have a glaring confirmation of what we already know quite well and about which we have ample evidence: that Donald Trump is an inveterate liar and manipulator unfit to be president and probably not all there mentally. She described the pattern of his behavior: first he tries to charm you into making a deal and doing his bidding, if that does not work he tries bullying which seems to be his favorite mode of social interaction; if that does not work either then he viciously attacks one’s reputation or career. That is pattern we saw observed with James Comey, the director of the FBI who was summarily fired by Trump, Mafia style.  

Then she added: “Just reflect on the defense of Donald Trump from the White House: “He is not a liar,” does it not remind you of Nixon’s “I am not a crook?” Indeed, Pelosi’s implication is clear: we have seen this movie before and it is titled Watergate. The sequel, I predict, will be titled “The Caligula Presidency.” As every movie, it has a beginning, a middle and it will have an end. The Comey deposition may well be the beginning of the end. Stay tuned, judging from Watergate, the best of the plot is still to come.


Check Dr Emanuel Paparella's EBOOKS
Aesthetic Theories of Great Western Philosophers
& Europe Beyond the Euro
You can download them for FREE HERE!

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