Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Trump: Caligula or Incitatus?

Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Caligula had his horse Incitatus elected senator. Caligula, an insane tyrant who ruled between37 and 41 AD, was famous for his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversity. He is said to have built for Incitatus a stable of marble, with an ivory manger, purple blankets, and a collar of precious stones. The horse would also "invite" dignitaries to dine with him in a house outfitted with servants. Some say that Caligula carried out such extravagances to ridicule and provoke the senate.

At the start, Donald Trump was also seen as an extravagant character, with a narcissistic authoritarian personality who named his buildings and casinos after himself and was a keen participant in reality shows. Yet, he is now the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

So, it is pertinent to ask if the Republican leadership (GOP) went crazy and found its own Incitatus in Trump, or if the reverse is true and Trump is a kind of Caligula who turned the GOP into his Incitatus. The answer might be the second, given that Trump was initially opposed by the GOP.

Were Trump to be elected, it would not be the first time that an electorate voted into office clowns or mavericks in a gesture of protest against the establishment. Electing a clown or an Ernest might even be a refreshing interval, if the country were not fundamental for world peace and democracy and the elected clown did not have firm crazy ideas.

Unfortunately, neither the US is a minor power, nor Trump is devoid of ingrained dangerous ideas.

To understand how dangerous are his ideas it is enough to translate them into plain English as follows:


This so-called program to Make America Great Again, will instead damage seriously the Dollar and the US economy, reduces America leadership and threatens world peace.

His nationalistic, xenophobic, homophobic and militaristic stance would alienate allies, divide Americans and create new enemies. The beacon for democracy, fairness and opportunity that America has been for more than a century would come to an end.

I do not believe that the American people will vote such candidate for President, but should it happen, Mr Trump could become simultaneously a modern-day version of Caligula and his horse.

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