Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts on Visiting Rome: That empire is toast!

Here I am in Rome, the Eternal City. And you can usually find a fabulous monument or church or historical ruin on almost every corner. Or a gelato shop.

First I scored a cheap-but-nice room at the Hollywood Hotel near the main railway station (using and then settled in to see the sights. Rome is amazing. You should go there. Everyone here speaks English. Bring a map.

Of course the first thing I did while in Rome was visit the Coliseum and the Forum. And must I state the obvious here? After running a thousand-year-old eternal empire that stretched from Britain to Palestine and beyond, now nothing is left of that empire but a bunch of scenic rocks. Hint hint.

Or as President Eisenhower used to say, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

Enough said. A word to the wise is sufficient. A priori, the American Empire is doomed. 1000 years from now? Nothing but rocks. Let's just hope that they also are scenic rocks. What future tourist would ever consider paying 12 euros to see the ruins of strip malls?

Next I went off to the Vatican to try to give Pope Benedict some advice regarding his recent War on Nuns. "Don't go there."

Visisting the Vatican involves standing out in the hot sun for three hours while waiting to get in to see the Sistine Chapel. So much for paying extra to "Skip the Line".

There is a great Roman-built wall around the inner city here, built by Emperor Constantine to keep out the barbarian hoards lapping at Rome's door. So. From a vast military complex with over 400 military outposts scattered across the known world, the Roman Empire had finally been reduced to just as few miles of real estate.

Perhaps America might consider Rome's plight as well and spend its money (our money) defending America rather than trying to seize all of the known world too. We can now see in advance how that's gonna go.

Right now, thousands of foreign emigrants are trying to come to the United States -- but in a good way. They are only following the trail of booty that has been looted from their own countries by America's One Percent. They don't want to destroy us. They just want to join us.

But. Sooner or later, there are going to be true barbarians at our gates -- just like there were at the gates back in ancient Rome. And all our armies will be out there in Nowhereastan trying to steal oil for Exxon instead of here at home minding the battlements where they belong.

History will repeat itself. Just look at all these ruined walls.

Citizens of Rome see these ruins every single day -- and learn from them. No wonder Italians don't like to seek empires. They are constantly reminded of its futility. It's a wonder that Mussolini was able to scratch up any conscripts at all or even get to first base.

Then I went off to the catacombs of San Callisto. Amazing. 16 miles of underground tunnels built by early Christians in order to secretly bury their dead. Roman emperors hated Christians. Why? Because Christians were tired of centuries of war and wanted peace and love instead. And so they were persecuted for their craving for peace in a militaristic world -- much like peace-loving liberals are persecuted by the military-industrial hierarchy today. That's another analogy we could learn from.

But will we? Er, no.

PS: Am leaving for Uganda via Cairo today. Arrivederci Roma.