Is this how the Romans felt before the fall of the Roman Empire?
Mr. Arthur J. Simental
April 22, 2020
We live in troubling times… a world wrought with death, destruction, chaos, and overwhelmed with illness. The pandemic before the world is nothing new. Many pandemics have made their mark on the world, changing it each and every time. The world has had a long history of pitting humanity against insurmountable challenges, yet humanity has survived. Despite a long, storied history of pandemics clashing with civilization, we continually fail to learn from the past and thus are doomed to repeat it. Can we ever rid ourselves from this endless cycle of death and destruction? When will humanity learn from the lessons of history?
The response to COVID-19 is best described in summary as the greatest colossal failure of leadership globally in modern history. We should be fortunate that the virus is not more deadly and that this global catastrophic disaster isn’t world-ending. Let’s be honest, based on the response to COVID-19 if the world was faced with an extinction-level event such as an asteroid heading on a collision course with earth or super volcanic explosion we’d be doomed. How many people would say they feel confident in their government’s ability to successfully navigate and handle crisis based on what has been witnessed during the COVID-19 crisis?
Being caught in such uncertainty and chaos is perhaps how Roman citizens felt in the last days of the great Roman Empire. There are a number of factors that contributed to the fall of Rome such as government corruption and political instability, the loss of traditional values, overexpansion and military overspending, and economic troubles (Andrews, 2019). Interestingly, there are many similarities that can be found between the world today as it was then. America is in turmoil, the President, blinded by his greed and self-interests, and focused only on matters that may reduce his ability to stay in power refuses to act. He is incapable of leading the nation. Even now, as the COVID-19 crisis rages on, the Administration could not care less about the plights of American citizens while catering to corporations, the political elite and the wealthy. We live in troubled times indeed when our leaders pit their self-serving interests before the people, leaders who would sacrifice and risk the lives of ordinary citizens to fuel their greed and rampant corruption. Yet, here we are, the barbarians (COVID-19) are here, America is burning, and our leaders drunk with power, blinded by greed and corruption have failed us.
The world is fracturing and continues to divide. We see this displayed in Brexit and as America continues to withdraw from the global stage and return to a period of isolationism (Schneider, 2019). It’s every country for themselves. The great multi-national organizations and bastions of unity built on the hard-earned lessons of World Wars such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization have fallen, America’s alliances are perhaps more vulnerable than they have ever been as a result of the President Trump’s attacks on America’s closest allies (Brennan, 2019; Klein & Hansler, 2020). We are on a path that leads towards more death and destruction if the world cannot find peace and unity. America is alone, our President and his Administration have isolated us. Who will come to our aid in our greatest time of need? We are one hurricane Sandy, Harvey or Maria from reaching a breaking point from which the return to normalcy may take decades.
So here we are, watching what seems to be a loop in time. History repeating itself, America present day and ancient Rome. Our world is on fire and we can do nothing but watch it burn, as we cannot be more than ourselves and find unity in the chaos. When the dust settles and this global catastrophe is behind us, we must not forget the hard-earned lessons from COVID-19. We must not forget the lives lost, the sleepless nights, the fear that paralyzed nations, nor the sacrifices made by so many ordinary citizens who stepped up for their communities, especially those who served on the front line: police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical services, public health and medical, grocery store and sanitation workers so that we could survive, so that America and the rest of the world could go on. We must remember, we must never forget and we must vow to not make the same mistakes and change the world for the better.
Andrews, E. (2019, January 29). 8 Reasons Why Rome Fell – HISTORY. © 2020, A&E Television Networks, LLC. https://www.history.com/news/8-reasons-why-rome-fell
Brennan, D. (2019, September 16). Donald Trump’s NATO Attacks Are “Dangerous” and Could Tempt Putin to Test the Alliance, Former Secretary General Warns. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trumps-nato-attacks-are-dangerous-could-tempt-putin-test-alliance-former-secretary-1459431
Klein, B., & Hansler, J. (2020, April 15). Trump halts WHO funding over handling of coronavirus outbreak – CNNPolitics. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/politics/donald-trump-world-health-organization-funding-coronavirus/index.html
Schneider, B. (2019, November 3). Isolationism creeps back over America, as the president looks out for himself | TheHill. The Hill. https://thehill.com/opinion/international/468690-isolationism-creeps-back-over-america
Arthur J. Simental, M.S.
Mr. Arthur J. Simental is an Adjunct Instructor for the College of Security Studies at Colorado Technical University and the Founder of C&S Resiliency Solutions Ltd. Mr. Simental has nearly a decade of service in Government, Homeland Security & Emergency Management and Emergency Services. Mr. Simental has served at the local, county, regional, state level and in the private and non-profit sectors in healthcare, space & defense, security and education working with critical infrastructure facilities.
Mr. Simental possesses a Master of Science in Homeland Security, Emergency Management and Public Health from Colorado Technical University, a Bachelor of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University, an Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security/Emergency Management from Pikes Peak Community College, and an Undergraduate Certificate in Cybersecurity from Colorado State University.