The Modern Commodus

By: Sebastian Faura

During the later stages of the Roman Empire, the Empire was ruled by an emperor known as Marcus Aurelius, and was the last of what were considered the “Five Good Emperors”. He was born into the rich lifestyle of politics as the son of Aurelius, and when Aurelius passed, took on his mantle as emperor of Rome. During his reign, though, he was noted as an extreme egocentric, and used his station as the foundation of the empire’s traditions and image. With no care for how the public truly viewed him, he quite literally saw himself as Hercules reborn. Now, nearly two millennia later, we face a similar figure, and one whose connection to his people, the public, is nearly nothing: Donald J. Trump.

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Commodus, in the dress of Hercules. Source: Wikipedia

With the appointment of a new cabinet underway, Trump has shaken the faith, with a great deal of his picks coming under fire for effectively inviting nepotism of the highest order into the administration. A good example of this was his appointment of Rick Perry as energy secretary, when Perry called for the closure of the Department of Energy when he was running for president in 2011. Other appointments include a former CEO of Exxon-Mobil (Secretary of State), a neurosurgeon (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and a delegate for the Michigan Republican Party (Department of Education). Though some appointments are sensible, such as James Mattis, a reputable former Marine general, the rest of the cabinet tells a story of ineptitude and self-interest.

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Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and nominee for energy secretary. Source: nytimes.com

To the point of connecting with the public, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has critically erred in the way of communication, outputting a doctrine of spouting party rhetoric while disallowing any notion of feedback or lines of questioning. This breakdown in communication only serves to further divide the public from the administration, and in short, worsens the public image of the country’s administration.

Cillizza, Chris. “Sean Spicer held a press conference. He didn’t take questions. Or tell the whole truth.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 21 Jan. 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Davenport, Coral. “Rick Perry Regrets Call to Close Energy Department.” The New York Times. N.p., 19 Jan. 2017. Web.

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