For those that hate to read the entire story, that would be most of you, being a DICTATOR does not end well. In fact, I might recommend reading Shakespeare’s, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Or for a recent example, simply search for the story of that crazy kid, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. If you remember the phrase, “et tu Brute?” which loosely translated from Shakespeare-ish-Latin, means, “come on man, that stings, and Brutus? What’s up with this dude? Look at this bloody mess, I just had my toga cleaned!” And they said Latin was a dead language.
(Being from Kentucky, I can write about this, ‘So you don’t be thinkin’, I be gettin’ big fur my overalls, I done learnt all this to at my high school. I took a Latin class, Civics class and that Shakespeare class I done took – they be good for me’. And by the way, I do have the genetic gift from an odd shaped protein instruction within my helical shaped DNA to write ‘Redneck’ or ‘Hillbilly’, but I will reserve that blog post for another day.)
But it all started after Julius Caesar decided to cross the Rubicon River with his armies, thus the phrase, “Crossed the Rubicon” or from that dead language, “Alea iacta est” – ‘The Die is Cast’. Our intrepid Julius had decided he wanted to live and rule as THE dictator, with the help of his armies, and the encouraged silence from his enemies. Of course, Julius ensured their silence by sentencing them to a one-way, not-for-profit prepaid tuition – relocation relearning centers, where they learned to fight, or better known as to die horribly on the floor of the Roman Coliseum, and of course the last thing you saw was lots pointing down thumbs from the idiot mob that believed his every decree. OR, he might have decided to have you accidentally on-purpose killed off. I would have preferred the Napoleonic option to be – EXILED. The word, exiled, just seems a lot softer, and healthier to me.
I’ll translate, as you are running for your life and yelling at the angry, gun and knife club following your every movement: “No, no, I’m good, put the hot pokers away, pa-leez. I’ve got my bags packed, take the house, it’s okay, I don’t need it. One last thing, just don’t kill me, pa-leez, I’ll go into EXILE, happily, I heard they have free internet, food and fancy shelter.”
But where would you go to be in exile in today’s world?
My point, I would rather be THE dictator. I know we all are going to die, eventually, even the Tom Hank’s character from The Green Mile knew he would eventually die, thank you Stephen King. But regardless, think about being THE dictator? I would be legally, continuously voted into office by my adoring crowd of peeps. I would roam about my lands partially waving at my subjects wearing a cool hat and bedazzled uniform, all from the comfort of a really, really awesome auto being driven by a nasty appearing dude, surrounded by an even nastier security force. I would pick my own harem of hot babes, and I would live and rule my world within a protective cocoon of government approved palace(s). I would fund my lavish lifestyle from the resources and taxed effort from the subjects that were attempting to ‘survive’, and keep them from voting me out as THE dictator – by giving my security forces lots of free stuff, and my peeps lots and lots of free stuff. The theory being, ‘if you are fat, lazy and happy, why not remain fat, lazy and happy and ignorant to reality because you have Honey Booboo, or other vapid reality shows to choose from for your entertainment that are continuously streaming over your free, tax-payer paid, high-speed internet connection’. As Yakov Smirnoff would say with his Russian accent, “What a country!”
But I want to offer a twist to my first sentence. I don’t think it’s about being THE dictator, I think we have a bunch of wanna be dictators. But as the picture to this post shows, it is a painting of the Founding Father’s inside Independence Hall after they had debated the United States Constitution. And it was a nasty debate. If you examine the painting, there is the image of an arm chair behind George Washington, it is known as the Rising Sun Chair. It is the chair George Washington silently sat upon as the Constitution was debated, and the legend has it that Benjamin Franklin, dude seated in light blue with long hippy hair, he had named the chair, “I have often looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I… know that it is a rising…sun.”
My point, I don’t care what political flavor you prefer, liberal, conservative, libertarian, pick one, but I do not want to hear, or read the words, ‘political’ and ‘career’ together, ever, ever again. If the political caste system really provides a public service, then do what the Roman general Cincinnatus was credited with doing, and do what George Washington actually did. They served their country to the best of their abilities, with honor, integrity, and then they simply walked away from absolute power and went back to the farm.
Another nugget to ponder, the novel that I authored, Fishing for Light was entitled Fishing for Light because I was searching for a title for the manuscript. I had created all sorts of titles, but none seemed to point exactly to the satires intent. The satire was intended to poke fun at the godless and corrupt 21st century society. But satire can be easily misunderstood, I can accept that verdict.
But then one day, I was quietly sitting in my office staring over at a gift my wonderful wife gave me from a long ago for Christmas. She had had an exact copy of the Rising Sun Chair made for me; as you might imagine, it has deep personal meaning for me. In fact, she was inspired to seek out the artist, now deceased, to make the chair after she took a picture of me staring over at the real chair that was set quietly behind a desk in Independence Hall. It sets there to this day.
Why go to all that trouble? Because I had involuntarily begun to cry as I stared over at that chair. I guess I was emotionally moved because I understood what George Washington had sacrificed for his, and now my country, an idea, a place that I was lucky enough to be born into. And it is why I have deep respect for anyone that wore, or wears the uniform for this country. But even those that voluntarily step forward to wear the uniform have to retire.
George Washington could have been a dictator, he wore cool hats and had several awesome uniforms, he could have maintained absolute power, and he had the army behind him. But what did he do? He rose up from that chair, and he walked away.
I’m not a father by choice. But for me, since the made-up Father’s Day approaches, I think George Washington knew how to act like a gentleman, he had the visionary integrity to think beyond himself, he was a leader, and besides, he’s known as the ‘Father of our Country’, right?