"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barack Obama and The Gordian Knot

The bumbling, ancient Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, compared Barack Obama to Alexander the Great.. The Archbishop: "You Mr. President are following the brilliant example of Alexander the Great...you will be able to cut the Gordian Knot of these unresolved issues."

The occasion was a celebration of 188 years of Greek independence and the Archbishop was referring to the problems with Macedonia as issues to be solved by Obama.

We have all seen how Barack Obama fancies himself as a Citizen of the World but, as legend would have it, by solving the the Gordian Knot problem Obama would become Conqueror of the World. The only problem is that Alexander cheated. Instead of untying the Gordian Knot he slashed it with his sword. He was awarded his conqueror status nevertheless. From one account on the web we learn:
The father of gods had ordained that when it came time for the people to select a king, they must choose the first person to ride up to the temple of Zeus in a wagon. Gordius innocently fulfilled the oracle and was made king. (The system might be an improvement over a methods of election held today. Certainly it would eliminate political campaigns). In any event, Gordius seems to have done very well. One of his first acts was to dedicate his wagon to Zeus and to place it near the temple, the yoke tied to the pole by an intricate knot of cornel bark. Another oracle declared that anyone who succeeded in untying the knot would be the conqueror of all Asia. The knot stayed tied until the arrival of Alexander. Then, as everybody knows, he cheated on the oracle by cutting the knot with his sword instead of untying it. Zeus honored his initiative by making the prophecy come true.

Obama said many of the Founding Fathers were students of Greek history and turned to ancient texts for guidance. He said it was a cruel irony that the Greeks tested democracy but then faced a struggle to achieve their own independence 188 years ago. Yes our Founding Fathers did study the histories of Greek and Roman democracies and they concluded that we should have a constitutional republic not a democracy. Pure democracy leads to mob rule, then anarchy, and finally dictatorship.

Detail from: ('Alexander and the Gordian Knot' Oil Painting 52" x 53" by John Hagan ©1996)
h/t (video) The Politico

Tags:barack obama,gordian knot,alexander the great,greece,macedonia,greek orthodox church,democracy v constitutional republic,

No comments: