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John Robinson

John Robinson

I, like a lot of you, have been watching the proceedings in the amphitheater in Washington, D.C. Rattling around in the back of my head is the thought that this is a rerun of some ancient history. I turned and contorted my mind until the picture became clear. It’s like a Roman circus.

We have the gladiators waging war on the floor of the Washington amphitheater for the amusement of the senators. At some point in the proceedings, one gladiator will get his foot on the throat of the other and the senators will vote thumbs up or thumbs down as to survival. That’s how it looks while the battle rages.

I suppose the generally accepted view of a Roman circus is of Nero sitting in the royal box and, after a victor is determined, allowing the populace to determine the life or death of the defeated gladiator. We don’t quite have that in the Washington amphitheater. In fact, it is kind of in reverse. Nero himself is the principal target of the fray. The gladiators are using all the arts, skills and skulduggery of their craft to exonerate or defeat our modern Nero. The senators are deciding what is best for their own future as wards of the state. Is it best for them to decide his fate or should they let the populace decide?

There is a fly in the ointment of this seemingly simple problem. The 100 senators have taken an oath that requires them to make the decision. Ah, such are the problems of living the public life and guiding the course of civilization; one generally has to take an oath to uphold something. But then an oath is an oath is an oath, and what really are they swearing to uphold? Is it the Constitution under which they were elected? Is it the will of the people? Ah, how knoweth the will of the people? Why, by the polls, of course, and the results of the elections.

The poll process gets interesting about here. In either of the last two elections only about 50 percent of the eligible voters even went to the polls to vote and not quite 50 percent of those who voted cast their vote for Nero. Now the public opinion polls all say that 70 percent of the people want to keep Nero as emperor. We have to find a way where only those who cast a ballot at the polling place get to vote in the public opinion polls. What really is so bad about turning over the results of an election where the winner only had 25 percent of the voting population voting for him? Is that like Nero had a mandate to burn Washington?

What are the noble senators thinking? Deep down inside their nimble brains they are saying, “Nero’s only going to be here for two more years. I have to figure out which way to vote so that I can stay forever. This is a nice club with a lot of perks that I will lose if I have to go out and look for honest work. I certainly believe that I’m good for the country and it is my honorable duty to vote so that I stay in office. I will maintain my principles and vote for first, what is good for me and second, what might be good for the country.

"If we can keep the waters stirred up and muddy enough, I can make up my own clear-cut principle on why I voted the way I did and no one can say I’m wrong. The Constitution is a document that can be interrupted to fit anyone’s needs. My needs are to stay in office and avoid honest work at all costs so I can support my several families and not have to go on any other kind of welfare.

"We are noble creatures, imbued by our creator with the abilities to be sly and devious while we pretend to be honorable and straightforward. If we can get that pretension across, and I think we can, then we can fool enough of the people so we can be elected again, and again and again. Here’s to the 50 percent that never come out to vote. May their numbers increase and make our elections easier.

A toast. Here’s to our next election. Damn the impeachment and full speed ahead. The shattering of champagne glasses in the fireplace of the old Senate room reverberated around the world. All’s well that ends well. Hip, hip."

John Robinson of Hamilton can be contacted at robby1927@gmail.com. Robinson writes a monthly column for the Ravalli Republic. 

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