AMERICA'S EMPIRE SYNDROME
The bigger they are, the harder they fall
By Bob Hegamin
AN OPINION October 10, 2000
Our country is starting to show signs of the "Empire Syndrome" as it assumes the role of the world's "police force." Through a series of events, similar to those that made Rome and other great empires the superpowers of their day, the United States of America has been evolving into the only superpower of this age. For this paper, "Rome" will be used to typify that development.
"All roads lead to Rome." In the literal sense , the growth of the Roman Empire can be attributed to a system of roads used for rapid military movement and safe routes for commerce. They had been built to satisfy the increasing appetite of Romans for both conquest and the goods the conquered countries could provide. Rome was the superpower of its day, and capital of the known world. Unfortunately, in the figurative sense, the concept of the Roman road was a ”two-way street." Roman laws, which had been propagated throughout its far-flung empire, also allowed its enemies to use those same laws to destroy the Empire.
Some early and observable characteristics underscored the fall of the Roman Empire, and their presence in today's U.S. should be a wake-up call for all Americans. Consider these examples:
Import/Export Rome imported far more than it exported. Today, the U.S. is importing approximately $300 Billion a year more than it exports.
Citizenship People of conquered countries were made citizens of Rome. Today, the U.S. is granting citizenship to almost anyone who applies for the privilege.
Military Rome scattered its legions, then relied on "enemies-turned-Roman citizen soldiers" to defend the empire. Today, the U.S. has stationed its troops worldwide, yet relies on a coalition of sovereign powers to protect its national interests.
Currency The Roman coin was the coin of the realm. Today, the U.S. dollar is the world's "currency of choice."
Culture As the Roman Empire expanded, it also exported the Roman way-of-life. Today, the American way-of-life is being shipped world-wide.
Diversion Rome's Coliseum typifies the venue which used an "entertainment" opiate to desensitize Romans to government abuses. Today, countless numbers of diverse venues in the U.S. provide the "entertainment" opiate, desensitizing Americans to government abuse.
If a lesson has to be learned from history, Americans should be concerned about these similarities that led to the fall of Rome. Today's America is vulnerable, only because most Americans have allowed themselves to be governed by inept elected officials.
Random events have already assured the United States its place in history, but its legacy - the U.S. Constitution - will continue to be judged by the way it is being used in the governance of its people. Ironically, while the Federal government today attempts to ”sell" constitutional democracy to the world, many examples among local jurisdictions in the U.S. show that all three branches of government are increasingly ignoring or abusing constitutional laws. As long as legally elected administrations aren't being challenged on this issue, the Constitution will eventually be a document in name only and not one of substance. When that happens, the United States of America could very well become an Empire by default, since its will to remain a viable constitutional republic is no longer a goal.