John Kerry et Cicero

John Kerry, in his acceptance speech at the DNC (Acceptance for the Democratic nominee, not the presidency, everything in good time), said something so cool that unfortunately, because of the decline in classical education in this country, I doute that but a few people of my generation got it. He said, "I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President."

Those of you who have not read Cicero might not recognise the reference. Cicero said, over two thousand years ago, "Defendi rem publicam adulescens, non deseram senex." Which means, "I defended the republic as a young man, I shall not abandon it in my old age." John Kerry is paraphrasing one of the greatest statemen the world has ever known, and doing it well, in my opinion.

Cicero had to fend off a conspiracy to take over the Roman Senate from a man named Catalina and his cohorts. Catalina's plan was to oust Cicero as Consul of Rome, and install himself as a dictator. (or so writes Cicero) I don't know if John Kerry intended us to draw an analogy to that ancient time, but if we do, we might liken John Kerry to a wisened old stateman, who sees the desparate straights the country is in, who knows that there are men who plot the end of the Republic, and who, against the odds, decides to fight with all his remaining strength, to wake a sleeping country to the threat from within, to arouse his blinded countrymen to the impending doom and fight off the conspirators, those who would end democracy and freedom for our country.

Or don't. I'm reaching here and I know it. I just like that John Kerry gave props to Cicero.

1 Comments:

At 8/2/04, 11:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is wonderful to know. I mean yes, we wish we lived in a peaceful world, but as Mondale said, this is post 9/11 and people have a right to want to feel safe.

 

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