Saturday, December 25, 2010
A woman of courage.
Justinian was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire during the 6th Century A.D. when in 528 a serious riot broke out in the city of Constantinople. Justinian had been unaware of the growing dissent of the common people who were bearing the brunt of heavy taxation. In addition, not being of noble birth, Justinian was despised by the nobility who, simply because of their status demanded positions within the government; Justinian looked upon the nobility as troublemakers who were interested, not in the furtherance of the state, but in their own personal power. He thus had induced the ire of the nobility.
During the riot some of the nobles helped the people with arms and the imperial palace was stormed. Inside the palace, the Emperor and all his ministers were in a state of terror and did not know what to do. They talked of escape since they had access to boats in the harbor but they were not sure whether that was the course they should take.
It was at this point that the Empress Theodora stood up, quieted the men down, and gave this eloquent speech: “I do not care whether or not it is proper for a woman to give brave counsel to frightened men; but in moments of extreme danger, conscience is the only guide. Every man who is born into the light of day must sooner or later die; and how can an Emperor ever allow himself to become a fugitive? If you, my Lord, wish to save your skin, you will have no difficulty in doing so. We are rich, there is this sea, there too are our ships. But consider first whether, when you reach safety, you will not regret that you did not choose death in preference. As for me, I stand by the ancient saying: 'royalty makes the best shroud' ”.
This speech instilled the needed courage in the ministers and the Emperor. Justinian recalled the recent arrival of some mercenaries and the presence of Belisarius, considered the greatest general in the history of the Byzantine Empire, within Constantinople. Belisarius was given command and put the riot down quickly and ruthlessly.
Those of the nobility, particularly a number of senators, who were directly involved in the riots paid with their lives; other nobility whose sympathies lay with the rioters, were hounded by the tax collectors which kept them permanently out of Justinian's hair. For the rest of his long and glorious reign, justinian kept a close watch on the taxes levied on the people to ensure, not only their compliance, but also their satisfaction with being treated fairly.
Today we see the struggle within the Republican Party for the leadership necessary to moderate the demands of the nobles (the elites of our day) and do true justice for the people struggling for a good life of their own making without the tyranny of government.
Sometimes it takes a woman; whether Emperor or Empress is not of as much importance as her courage in speaking out with fortitude and honesty in times of crises when men seemingly have lost their compass and need such womanly direction. In our times, I believe, it takes a Sarah.
Reference: Lost to the West by Lars Brownworth.
Published in the United States by Crown publishers, a division of Random House, Inc, New York.
Copyright 2009 by Lars Brownworth
Chapter 8 pages 73–82.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Who knows who our next president will be but, more than any other person, Sarah Palin embodies the spirit needed to bring America from the brink of totalitarianism whose steady growth, for almost a century, has been gaining strength through the auspices of the Democratic Party. This video is a classic in catching the spirit of a leadership like Sarah Palin's.