Requiem For Empire

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The family has gathered in the cramped room. The only sounds are the muted bleeps of machinery, the raspy gasps of breath, and Aunt Maggie’s sniffles. Uncle Sam lies quietly on the bed, oblivious to the long, sallow faces staring down at him. Cousin Vinny nods slightly to the orderly, who leans down to pull the plug, then beats a hasty retreat from the room. Uncle Sam shudders briefly, then his body goes limp — the long goodbye is over.

The family slowly leaves the room, some consoling others. Aunt Maggie pauses for a moment to stare at the face she knew so well. Cousin Virginia wraps an arm around Mags and gently guides her to the door. “He had a long and amazing life, Auntie,” she says, barely holding back her own tears. War Crimes Against Sou... Cisco, Walter Brian Check Amazon for Pricing.

It’s time to let go. Uncle Sam had an incredible run at global domination, but like all kings of the hill, someone eventually unseats them. Uncle Alex, Uncle Julius, Uncle Genghis, Aunt Vicky…they all had a turn. It’s inevitable, though — the copious spoils lead to ostentatious lifestyles and lavish expectations. The arteries clog, the liver craps out, the muscles waste away, cognitive function slips.

In the end, empires never really die. They all leave indelible marks on civilization, with cultural echoes reverberating for millennia. Uncle Sam will no doubt be remembered for the “repeatable experience” — the ability to go anywhere in the world and get an identical Big Mac. English will remain the international language of trade, of course, because no one wants to learn Mandarin or Russian. Old Hollywood movies will be the future’s version of naked gods cast in marble.

The problem with empires is that they eventually generate enough animosity, both within and without, that political and cultural forces tear them apart. The rock of tradition grinds against the hard spot of progress until there is nothing but a pile of fine dust and pleasant memories.

In ancient Rome, the freed Greek and Phoenician slaves found gainful employment in the bureaucracy — most maintaining old customs from the homeland, but never having been there. At the same time, they had no deep loyalty to the empire. It offered them a good salary and benefits, but it wasn’t theirs.

Meantime, the Romans moved out to the suburbs to escape the chaos of city life, and live on verdant estates, eating extravagant feasts, while speaking in vague terms of Cicero and Virgil. By the time Alaric and the Visigoths were storming the gates, there was no one left to care. Prescription for Nutri... Balch CNC, Phyllis A. Best Price: $6.99 Buy New $19.50 (as of 03:55 UTC - Details)

In the end, empires are living creatures. They are born with lofty ideals and boundless ambition, they mellow into a managerial role, and eventually they grow weak and outlive their welcome. When they die, they leave behind a legacy, fondly recalled by some, and with acerbic disgust by others. All the while, the heirs squabble over the estate, making off with alacrity and booty

Just as frat boys dress in togs and recite the Greek alphabet backwards, and lawyers dress up mountains of stercus tauri with Latin jargon, the American empire will leave an indelible mark on global culture. Perhaps in 2,000 years, “to google” something will mean “to baffle, bewilder, conceal”. Maybe “cocacola” will refer to cloying swill, just as godsibb has come to mean “idle chatter about other folks’ affairs”.

The American empire will end — is ending — and it is highly likely that what we know as “America” will splinter and re-form. It’s inevitable, as all living things grow and change. What made America great was not its physical manifestation, but rather its foundational ideals: equality of opportunity, fairness of laws, curtailment of government. It doesn’t matter what America looks like, it is the principle of humanity unchained that is the vital core of an ideal that must be protected.

So as we ponder the earthly remains of Uncle Sam slowly cooling to room temperature, let’s remember that it was never about Sam’s corpse, it was about his life and the legacy he has endowed on those around him.

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