It wasn’t too hard to find a list of crazy things that Caligula did when he was in charge of the Roman Empire in the 1st Century. You can probably guess why I went searching for such a thing, since we now, too, have a leader who is narcissistic beyond belief and clearly insane. Trump’s latest demonstration of this is his call for a major investigation of (virtually non-existent) voter fraud which he insists happened, despite having just sent his own lawyers into court to fight recounts by arguing that “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”
I was in the car running an errand and had the opportunity to hear a presser given by Republican congressional leaders Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. Listening to them dance around Trump’s clear mental imbalance on this issue was a sound to behold. Sen. Thune did manage to promise “better message coordination” between Congress and the White House in the future, chalking up the whole thing up to growing pains.
The reason Trump reminds me of an unhinged Roman emperor is because his political allies are always walking on eggshells, afraid to contradict him but (so far) largely unwilling to vouch for his false and delusional statements and beliefs.
Caligula and Trump have more than a shared fondness for show business and drag queens in common.
Upon being declared Emperor, [Caligula] commissioned a three mile long bridge constructed of boats to be built from Baeiae to Puteoli and rode over it on his horse wearing Alexander the Great’s breastplate, because an astrologer had predicted he had “no more chance of becoming Emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baeiae”; he then compared himself to the god Neptune for having had traversed the sea.
Paul Krugman is right to call the new president “mentally ill.” And now we’ll have a major investigation of voter fraud for no other reason than to accommodate his illness. We may, perhaps, build his damned wall for the same reason.
Perhaps as big of a problem is that too many of us are carrying on as if this is okay. It isn’t.