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8 striking parallels between the US and the Roman Empire

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Is our republic coming to an unceremonious end? History may not be on America’s side

BY STEVEN STRAUSSALTERNET

8 striking parallels between the U.S. and the Roman Empire

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetLawrence Lessig’s Republic Lost documents the corrosive effect of money on our political process. Lessig persuasively makes the case that we are witnessing the loss of our republican form of government, as politicians increasingly represent those who fund their campaigns, rather than our citizens.

Anthony Everitt’s Rise of Rome is fascinating history and a great read. It tells the story of ancient Rome, from its founding (circa 750 BCE) to the fall of the Roman Republic (circa 45 BCE).

When read together, striking parallels emerge — between our failings and the failings that destroyed the Roman Republic. As with Rome just before the Republic’s fall, America has seen:

1 — Staggering Increase in the Cost of Elections, with Dubious Campaign Funding Sources: Our 2012 election reportedly cost $3 billion. All of it was raised from private sources – often creating the appearance, or the reality, that our leaders are beholden to special interest groups. During the late Roman Republic, elections became staggeringly expensive, with equally deplorable results. Caesar reportedly borrowed so heavily for one political campaign, he feared he would be ruined, if not elected.

2 — Politics as the Road to Personal Wealth: During the late Roman Republic period, one of the main roads to wealth was holding public office, and exploiting such positions to accumulate personal wealth. As Lessig notes: Congressman, Senators and their staffs leverage their government service to move to private sector positions – that pay three to ten times their government compensation. Given this financial arrangement, “Their focus is therefore not so much on the people who sent them to Washington. Their focus is instead on those who will make them rich.” (Republic Lost)

3 — Continuous War: A national state of security arises, distracting attention from domestic challenges with foreign wars. Similar to the late Roman Republic, the US – for the past 100 years — has either been fighting a war, recovering from a war, or preparing for a new war: WW I (1917-18), WW II (1941-1945), Cold War (1947-1991), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam (1953-1975), Gulf War (1990-1991), Afghanistan (2001-ongoing), and Iraq (2003-2011). And, this list is far from complete.

4 — Foreign Powers Lavish Money/Attention on the Republic’s Leaders: Foreign wars lead to growing influence, by foreign powers and interests, on the Republic’s political leaders — true for Rome and true for us. In the past century, foreign embassies, agents and lobbyists have proliferated in our nation’s capital. As one specific example: A foreign businessman donated $100 million to Bill Clinton‘s various activities. Clinton “opened doors” for him, and sometimes acted in ways contrary to stated American interests and foreign policy.

5 — Profits Made Overseas Shape the Republic’s Internal Policies: As the fortunes of Rome’s aristocracy increasingly derived from foreign lands, Roman policy was shaped to facilitate these fortunes. American billionaires and corporations increasingly influence our elections. In many cases, they are only nominally American – with interests not aligned with those of the American public. For example, Fox News is part of international media group News Corp., with over $30 billion in revenues worldwide. Is Fox News’ jingoism a product of News Corp.’s non-U.S. interests?

6 — Collapse of the Middle Class: In the period just before the Roman Republic’s fall, the Roman middle class was crushed — destroyed by cheap overseas slave labor. In our own day, we’ve witnessed rising income inequality, a stagnating middle class, and the loss of American jobs to overseas workers who are paid less and have fewer rights.

7 — Gerrymandering: Rome’s late Republic used various methods to reduce the power of common citizens. The GOP has so effectively gerrymandered Congressional districts that, even though House Republican candidates received only about 48 percent of the popular vote in the 2012 election — they ended up with the majority (53 percent) of the seats.

8 — Loss of the Spirit of Compromise: The Roman Republic, like ours, relied on a system of checks and balances. Compromise is needed for this type of system to function. In the end, the Roman Republic lost that spirit of compromise, with politics increasingly polarized between Optimates (the rich, entrenched elites) and Populares (the common people). Sound familiar? Compromise is in noticeably short supply in our own time also. For example, “There were more filibusters between 2009 and 2010 than there were in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s combined.”

As Benjamin Franklin observed, we have a Republic — but only if we can keep it.

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  1. Given all that has transpired, even if one only considers what has occurred in the last decade alone…(perhaps less) Some have no doubt asked themselves the following question:

    “Is this country even worthy of being saved?”

    Truly a valid question.

    Considering that the birth, life, and ultimate destiny of this once greatest country on the globe was forewritten in God’s word, and considering also that our Father promised that the wheat would grow up with the weeds, to be separated at the end, I’d say that the answer is YES! But the answer is more complicated than a general yes or no. For God promised that a “remnant” would be saved. Such is the way throughout History of our Father’s hand at work. He would that ALL be saved through repentance and obedience, but reality shows that not all can be counted worthy. There is an old saying to the effect that ‘God uses one half of the people to test the other half’. There is some truth there. Now is not the place and time to fully examine even a modicum of evidence that our nation, indeed the world is undergoing fulfillment of God’s Word to the letter. I will however, if allowed, leave your readers with much to chew on regarding the self evident realities of the shared situation in which the world finds itself today.

    Google – six pointed star mark

    Google – 666 talents of gold

    Google – D.C. Jerusalem masonic shrine

    Google – Shriner lucifer

    Google – lucifer telescope

    Youtube – walmart guard towers

    Google – Walmart six pointed logo

    Google – soldiers ask why six pointed star now on all officer swords

    Google – talmud truths

    The hour is Truly so Very Late….

    Google – “Huge Media Blackout Regarding Earth and Moon Orbital Changes”

    And see that Luke 21:25-28 is in fulfillment at this time. And see that when God says that the heavenly bodies will shake, and there will be signs in sun, moon and stars, while the nations will be in anguish over the great agitation of the oceans…..He Means It.

    Christ also means it when He says, “When you see the beginning of these things, STAND UP and LIFT UP your heads, for your redemption draws near”. TOO many are instead doing just the opposite, sitting down and hanging their heads! IF ONE IS AFRAID of what is coming upon the world, it is only because, deep down, you believe YOU HAVE IT COMING to you!

    DO YOU? Kneel and repent of sin, live STRONG in HIS WORD, His SON, Jesus Christ, and be forgiven, and you will instead find GREAT REASON to stand and raise your heads, even your voices, to God and to your fellow man.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dpGWYZMDc

    He forgave Kirk Martin, He can forgive you too….Try Him. Soon.

    For those who truly seek to know God’s ways, If He exists, where is his signature on Creation….I tell you the time is short, the harvest is great, and the workers are few. See:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnSxRYx82Gk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJyUtbn0O5Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dpGWYZMDc

    http://arkdiscovery.com/noah's_ark.htm

    Blessings friends, in Jesus Christ!

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  3. Every American should read this: Essential Critical facts for all Americans by DR Leonard Coldwell
    http://rense.com/general95/essential.html

  4. I found this artistic expression of the demise of the usa empire – http://youtu.be/TT4gRkGBsXg

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