Greek Democracy vs. the Roman Republic




greece vs rome

The fundamentals of society sometime get lost in translation!  As Donald Trump rants on about how “The System is rigged!”, the big lie has been laid upon the table:  “We want one man one vote!”  Nelson Mandala said that too!  “Let’s see, we have millions of black people and about 10% rich white folks!”  This is indeed the basis for “Democracy Rule”. This concept is indeed the idea that everyone should have a vote!  Everyone should vote!  Everyone has the responsibility in society to vote! In cave man times, the leader was chosen by democratic votes of the tribe or clan.  Women and children could vote, but could be killed for taking such action in the presence of a brutal “pretender to the throne” or a brutal current leader.  Perhaps, this is where they came up with the thought:  “Speak up, if you’ve got a pair!”  Society was based upon a strong leader who could protect or lead others against the beasts, other tribes and the natural forces of nature.

The Greeks took this system up a notch and created meeting places for folks to gather after they had tended their crops or stores and made their thoughts on laws and their leaders public.  Wrongs were voiced as well as Rights!    The Greek Gods were honored at each Holiday Festival – which were many!  The terms “fate” and “faith” were created.  Offerings to the Gods included food, drink, live animals and sometimes human sacrifice!  The Greeks believed in intellect, founding mathematics, linguistics and the ability to communicate with great eloquence.  Rulers and Leaders were chosen by the Assembly of Voters, Legacy or by the Gods!  The four classes of voters included: The Soldier Class, the Landowner Class, The Farmer Class and the Slave Class.  This society however was indeed dedicated to “One Man One Vote!”  This was the beginning of classifying women, children and slaves as non voting property!  The Greeks were governed by victorious Kings!

Then came the Roman Republics.  The rich “Patrician Class” followed all the Greek concepts, but changed the Greek Gods to Roman Gods, essentially the same except but were re-named to put their own special mark on divinity!  The “Patrician Class” were composed of rich landowners, rich Soldiers of Fortune and Legacy family members of the former.  They created “The Roman Senate” to voice all their concerns.  Some victorious soldiers became Tribune rank which allowed them to be voted on to the Senate, if the rest of the Senate agreed.  The Centurions were below this rank and usually could serve in “the Roman Assembly”, along with others voted on “by the people”.  The society was split between the rich “Patrician Class” and the poor or “Plebeian Class”.  Balancing these two groups was overseen by either “The Dictator”, “The Emperor” or “The Self Name Divinity”.  “Dictators” took office by force, “Emperors” by force and then Public acclaim, “Self proclaimed Divinity” in most cases resulted in assassination.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin in 1776 when asked what had happened:  “We have given you a Republic – if you can keep it!”

The “Roman Republics” were in most cases very corrupt.  They were based on patronage to the rich.  They were based upon a desire for more land and riches.  They were based upon controlling the people through economic means.  They were based upon years of wars of acquisition.  They were based upon taking from the poor and giving to the rich, with tuppence left over for building infrastructure.  They were based upon rank and privilege.  The Roman Republics…….were truly not exactly anything but allowing others “those elected” to voice the concerns of the landowners and the poor to the Dictator or Emperor or Self Proclaimed Divinity – who made the final decisions based upon whim and fancy many times.    The truth is that there have always been less rich people than poor people.

The Greek Democracies were little better except that everyone got their say!  The results however were still very much controlled by the rich, the military and the politically powerful. The power of mysticism, religion and nature did greatly influence most decisions however.  This was very true during the Roman Republics.  The Leaders and  Legions of Rome awaited “the soothsayers”, “the astrologers”, the “faith healers” many times before going into battle or leaving on a long journey.  Greek Democracies and Roman Republics still overspent the public trow or rich patronage on Festivals of Bacchus/Dionysus and other religious holidays.  The egos were immense and most public structures included displays of “the leaders statue” or in fact, were named buildings and structures themselves.  There was no “One man One Vote” on many of these so-called  “State Projects”.

The undue influence of “Special Interest Money” was very present in both the Greek Democracies and the Roman Republics.  They called it “Patronage”, because it included great expenses for parties, public events and of course personal payoffs to their Senator or Member of the Assembly.  Mel Brooks did a good impression of this in his movie: “History of the World Part II” – “Let’s talk like Roman Senators – ‘bullshit…bullshit..bullshit’!”  Zero Mostel also did a good job in “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum?”  What all this humor imbibes is that Politicians are just human beings without a lot that separates them from anyone else.  Except perhaps that they have more money to spend.  Other Peoples Money….that is!

The Donald Trump phenomena has exposed how uneducated people are regarding how things work in a Republic.  The United States has spent 240 years diluting the concept of Representative Government.  Between Citizens United, Political 501-C4’s, Off-Shore Inversions of both cash and businesses, a Volunteer Military, Political Greed and Avarice, Political Misconduct, Misrepresentations by the Political Class, Greed….(did we say that?), Globalism, Economic Globalism, The Internet, The I-Pod and basic uneducated ignorance of what a Republic really is……well folks, time to get educated in the realities of how to Create, Maintain and Direct a Republic.

In a real Republic, the people know WHO their representatives are.  They know their Representatives and they related “their needs and wants” on a daily basis.  Representatives on the other hand do not want to have to deal “with the people”.  They want to go to fine restaurants, be invited to ego aggrandizing events, take credit for all wonderful things that happen and not respond to things that might be less tolerable.  Representatives have to listen to their Political Leadership, their campaign contributors and to the businesses that employ their constituents.  Representatives are the First Responders in our society.  By following the Constitution they are their to Provide for the Common Defense, ensure Public Safety, ensure that our Sewers and Water Supply works, ensure that the electricity stays on and in any emergency provide additional funds that have lost through flood, fire, earthquake, natural disaster or perhaps through other catastrophic loss – such as in the World Trade Center.

The realities of a Republic sometimes differ from the ideal.  Should we wonder, why for example that their are no new innovative, non invasive cures for cancer or other maladies?  Should we wonder why our Representative have not made this a “Top Priority”.  What about Diabetes?  What about what they put in our food, our drugs, our environment in this society?  Just asking.  Why do we allow Big Pharma to put Drug Advertisements on television with side-effects that can kill us?  Just asking?  The reasons are many, but they begin with those that represent us in government.  Without asking these questions, we cannot make “our priorities” known.  We understand why our Representatives don’t want to have to deal with “real problems” that affect us.  They want something to argue about that has nothing to do with our lives.  Like, Benghazi or Hillary Clinton’s e-mails?  Like, Light Rail or High Speed Rail?  Like, whether the Republican party has rigged the delegate gate vote against Donald Trump?  But then, how does that affect us again?

Greek Democracy vs. Roman Republic…….you chose!

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.