“There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile”. – Marcus Aurelius
The Roman Republic lasted 460 years marking the beginning of the end in 49 BC when Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and the reality of freedom and liberty under a representative government died and was not reborn for a thousand years. If you begin the story of American liberty from December 21, 1620 when the Mayflower landed 102 separatist, our quest for liberty has lasted 395 years; from the the Declaration of Independence, 239 years; from the ratification of the Constitution, our Republic has given us liberty for 227 years.
Whichever date you chose, the point is this: we’ve had a short but good run. Sure we could go another 200-300 years with some effort, but we’ve lost the principles, the foundation that we stood on; at best they’ve been replaced with platitudes used to pander to voters who idealize the past (I count myself as one). But platitudes masquerading as principles or ideals have no practical meaning in our lives, we quickly trade our liberty not only for security, but simply for physical and mental comfort and pleasure. We care more about “fitting in” our chosen strata of society (I’m guilty) and our favorite team’s draft picks than we do anything else. We’ve forgotten so much that we once knew, and we “believe so much that just isn’t so”, it would now require an individual to undergo a tremendously difficult self-evaluation and embark on an arduous focused study to break out of the lemming pack. For the most part then, we have to rely on conservative sounding politicians to pull us back from the edge. As Sam Gamgee famously said, “I’m not so hopeful Mr. Pippin”. We’ll know I think in the coming months.
It’s ok, it happens.
As a Christian the war has already been won, so I have to joyfully let go of my idols as they are thrown into the fire, and keep my eyes on what eternally matters. I must double my efforts to serve my God – my Lord the King! (I’m well represented in that kingdom). IF our Republic falls, I have to relinquish the responsibilities of a free citizen, because I wont be free. I must also seek forgiveness and grace for squandering the gift of liberty and freedom that were bequeathed to me, especially from my children and grandchildren. I simply don’t deserve to keep what I failed to maintain. Neither do you.
Again, it’s ok – it happens. If the world is still around a thousand years from now humanity can give it another try. And besides, after the Roman Republic fell, for 200-300 years, life in the Roman Empire could be pretty good for a Roman citizen, it just wasn’t free. But there was plenty of free bread, and the games were glorious!
If our Republic does die, please, let’s dispense with the pretense and just be honest about it, the idea that was America will be gone, and an honest man who stood silently by shouldn’t even whisper about its past glories – when for a while a free people dared to rule themselves.