The decline of the Sacramento empire

OK, I want a show of hands on this one. How many of you think democracy, the foundation of our civilization, is crumbling in California?

The signs that the end is near are everywhere. It’s feeling like the last days of the Roman Empire. Indeed, Conan the Barbarian is at the gate.

The masses are calling for an expensive and tumultuous overthrow of the executive branch that could send a teetering government into the abyss. The leading candidate to take over after the revolution is a movie actor with questionable attitudes toward women and fidelity. The other candidate who spent millions initiating the overthrow has a fondness for carrying guns and ammo. The governor’s wife likens the recall to having cancer in the family, thereby insulting everyone who has cancer or has watched a loved one wither. As the state’s financial soundness goes into the dumpster, the supposed leaders of the legislative branch squabble like children (et tu Brulte?) as state workers are about to lose their paychecks. The masses are continually chanting for an overthrow in public forums.

But perhaps the truest similarity to the corruption of the Romans is the obscene amounts of tribute getting poured into the pockets of the senators. Toward the end of the empire, political leaders even would assassinate the emperor and sell the throne to the highest bidder. Sound like the recall?

History also tells us that the decline got in gear when emperors such as Caligula and Nero went overboard and blew money on lavish and obscene parties.

Much smaller in scale, but equally expensive, are the parties now being thrown by legislators on a daily basis in Sacramento. (See “The daily bread of politics.”)

I hope the decline is stopped, and the authority and wisdom of our political leaders ascends to create a more fair and equitable process, one that will promote political dialogue while ensuring that wealthy special interests do not exercise undue influence on the senators.