Thursday, January 29, 2009

alea iacta est

The die is cast.*

Via Newsvine, a comparison of the passing of the most recent economic stimulus bill...with Caesar crossing the Rubicon:

It was in the winter of 49 BC that Julius Caesar lead his armies across the Rubicon river. One imagines the glint of a veiled sun off frost-sheened armor and curved shields as thousands upon thousands of legionnaires wade through waist high water in the January cold at the command of a crimson cloaked Caesar. Their destination was Rome and there was no turning back - in crossing the Rubicon they had invaded Italy, declared war upon the government they served, and cast their lots with their commander. Alea iacta est, Caesar intoned. "The die is cast."

The Republican Party crossed its own Rubicon earlier this week, its ultimate fate just as uncertain as that which faced the man-who-would-be-emperor more than 2000 years ago. Barack Obama's stimulus package passed the US House of Representatives on Wednesday without a single Republican vote. Though the plan has been derided by the Right as full of pork and insufficiently focused upon economic stimulation, the political reality is that no one will remember these critiques in a few months' time...

The Republicans have crossed the Rubicon, they march upon the nation itself and will see it in ruin before accepting anything less than the full measure of victory. From this there can be no return and no half measures. The Republican party will succeed in its opposition or be destroyed in the process. Alea iacta est.

The parallel does not seem unreasonable, although I cannot say it was my intuitive reaction to the bill.

*I prefer "The die is cast" to the perhaps more common "The die has been cast." The former translation seems to really hammer the home the traditional stative sense of the perfect, more fitting here.

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