On Seeking the Blessing of the Gods

A book on etymologies explains inauguratio—
a ritual ceremony by which a college of ancient 
diviners and high priests of government obtained, 
or endeavoured to obtain, the sanction of the gods 
to something which had been decreed by man. The day
would have to be auspicious; augurs scanned 
the skies for stars, starved the birds in the royal
coop or fed them to the fire as sacrifice—which 
could possibly be another word for bribe. 
From antiquity, there are countless stories of
collusion and betrayal; and of orators delivering
impassioned speeches against tyranny and
corruption in the state—the enemies they made 
rose up with force, not hesitating when they set
assassins loose. Unsatisfied with plain
old slaying, they cut off the head and right 
hand of Cicero, which were displayed on the podium
from where he'd spoken. More, the wife of his enemy
took his head into her lap and turned the dead
man's tongue into her personal pincushion. 
There's no end to public commentary in the fevered 
anxiety of our own days, on the violent mob 
advancing with intent to threaten and destroy. 
But when they shake their heads and declare 
America, this is not who we are—I have to pause. 
History overflows with euphemisms: substituting
decency for self-interest, pacification for war. 

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