01 October 2010

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Thus, always, for tyrants.

The Virginia state flag has long been one of my favorites, and not just because I was raised in the beautiful countryside of that commonwealth so historically significant to our nation’s founding. My state-riotic bias may play a part (I will admit I am likewise partial to cardinals, dogwoods, and Mae) but in fact, it is the symbolism emblazoned across the royal blue that resonates so strongly in my soul. The flag depicts a woman, who bears a striking resemblance to Athena with her spear and sword and Hellenic-styled helmet and robe. She stands proudly with her foot on the chest of a defeated tyrant, his crown lying useless beside his turned head. The emblem simply oozes liberty, freedom, equality, independence, resistance, rebellion. Note my escalation of force in that last sentence. Virginia is, indeed, for lovers, and it is for lovers of those values professed in the Declaration of Independence that established us as free and sovereign. Lady Liberty guides the tired, poor, and hungry to our shores with the torch of freedom. Lady Virginia, however, kicks tyranny’s ass.

Named, perhaps appropriately, for Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen), my home state also claims as her own such prominent and influential figures as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Now, the War of American Independence is my favorite piece of Military history, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always appreciated a good revolution, so again I ask you to keep my bias in mind as you read this.

Tyranny is everywhere. It taints the political systems of the world, no matter how free and liberal a government claims to be. There is no such thing as pure democracy; pure democracy would be pure chaos, and more akin to anarchy than anything else since the whim of the majority would crush minority opinion and since humans are wired such that whims can change at an alarming rate. We enjoy in America one of, in my humble and *somewhat* educated opinion, the best and most fair governments in political history. Overwhelming fear of monarchy--like that experienced in Rome following the replacement of the kings with a mixed republic--greatly contributed to this. Our founding fathers feared both the potential for too much power in the hands of one ruler, but also feared the potential for a tyranny of the majority (mob mentality). That’s why the US Constitution incorporates the splitting of power, checks and balances, and an emphasis on the maintenance of rights.

However, human nature reaches for more. We are the actors of the political sphere. We are the politicians, the advisors, the legislators and enforcers and deciders of all things policy. Each branch is always pushing the limits of its power to see how far the other two branches, and especially how far the common people, will let it go. Everyone, no matter how much they serve or claim to serve the public good, has their own personal interests in mind as well. Thus, tyranny, in the simplest sense of some level of oppression of rights, is impossible to eradicate provided that humans are involved. Everyone has those inalienable rights, and no matter what, one person’s right will infringe on someone else’s.

This brings me to the main point of my entry for today: Sic semper tyrannis. This fabulous Latin phrase is written underneath the emblem on the Virginia state flag. Quite aptly describing the scene depicted above, it translates to “Thus, always, for tyrants.” Tyranny squashed. Tyranny thwarted, destroyed, defeated, overthrown, demolished. The success of the once-oppressed. The liberty of the enslaved, the freedom to think, feel, say as is your want. A government in place to PROTECT the rights of the individual, not to steal them. Seeing the Virginia state flag makes me feel as proud to be a member of the Armed Forces as does the American flag, because to me that slogan and that emblem most clearly depict the values of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Unite States which I am sworn to protect, uphold, and defend. My primary loyalty is to that document which I view as sacred: The Constitution.

I suggest you read it sometime. Here’s a link to where you can.

Tyranny is everywhere; it’s unavoidable. It’s our duty as citizens to stomp on it like Lady Virginia, to throw off its gilded crown and reveal how weak, misguided, and ignorant oppression really is, in all its forms. Intolerance is the one thing I really can’t bring myself to tolerate, because intolerance leads to tyranny. Let’s move on, as a society, to a day when we do not judge one lifestyle as innately superior to another? You can think and feel and say whatever you want, but you have no LEGAL right to TREAT any one human as inferior because of what they think, feel, or say.

Note that I’m not putting “do” in here. I have my reasons. I may explain them in a later entry.

For now, let these suffice my musings for the day. And please, for the love of the gods, don’t get me in trouble by interpreting anything in here as more than my opinion…because I am not at all objective when it comes to freedom and liberty and the need to defeat tyranny.

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