Running again? – Letter to the Editor

America is looking straight into the eyes of a tornado-style political year in 2022, and an even bigger one in 2024. How did democracies in the past handle situations where deeply divisive personalities on the political scene were disruptive to peace and good order? Ancient democracies like Athens and Rome practiced preventative medicine. Their legal systems required that populist demagogues interested in personal rule be sidelined from political activity. Those excitable personalities were actually required to leave their native soil for a number of years until they could remember how to act like good citizens. A famous case of ostracism/exile was Marcius Coriolanus in Rome. The practice was so important to ancient democracies that even the best leaders who stumbled badly just once were affected. The biblical Moses was excused from the Promised Land when he alienated God and civil society near the end of the Exodus journey.

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