No one actually knows why the Roman Empire fell. However, it is important to note that there are several theories as to the cause of the decline of the Empire. Even if none of the theories reveals the actual cause, they do reveal parts of the whole.
Government corruption, a population consumed by gladiator games, economic issues within the empire, leaders who fought amongst themselves rather than working for the good of the empire, and invading Visigoth barbarians are generally cited as reasons for the decline of a ruling force that was the pearl of the world.
While the United States faces its own government shutdown, maybe we should look at how these factors may be a part of our world.
Government corruption can be seen in the way that corporations are given rights over people.
Politicians receive billions of dollars in campaign funds from business and then these same politicians regulate the industries.
America may not have gladiator games, but clearly the masses are consumed with Keeping up with the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus’ twerking and video games and movies that are every bit as violent and gory as the game that pitted Christians against tigers – even if that gore is now CGI, red corn syrup and other special effects. Saw and its ilk are just another version of those gladiator games.
Clearly, the U.S. has monetary problems.
With most of the nation’s wealth in the hands of five percent of the population and the country facing a deficit in the trillions, there can be no argument about economic problems. Sure, the U.S. had a surplus under Clinton, but wars under the Bush and Obama administrations have more than wiped that surplus out. While banks and their CEOs received bailout funds in the wake of a financial crisis caused by incompetence and deceit that caused the housing market to burst, people lost their homes and their livelihoods.
If the government shutdown does not show a group of individuals so involved with just themselves and with total disregard for anyone else that lives in America, nothing does.
Not only do the representatives who are looking to defund Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) show their disdain for the democratic process, they show that at heart, they are bullies on the playground who are taking their ball and going home. While families consider the possibility of not making ends meet, our government officials still feast on the paychecks that they are not earning.
While the U.S. may not have its literal Brutus, it does have a collection of power hungry, indolent, slack-jawed pseudo-intellectuals willing to tear a country and its credit rating apart for the sake of taking down a law that has already passed the voting process.
While the U.S. may appear to be safe from barbarians at its borders, (let’s face it, no sane Canadian would want to move here), the real barbarian hordes come in the form of money that has been lent to the United States and the threat of its collection.
Combine that with the eternal search for cheap natural resources no matter what the long term cost, and you have a modern day horde ready to tear this nation down.
Our leaders do not have to get along. Our leaders do not have to agree on every issue.
However, what they do have to do is run the government. Shutting it down is like turning the engine off in a car. It is no longer running, and the country is sitting on the highway waiting to get hit.