Dear Editor, (from a long-time Tillamook cheese head)
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. For example, Moses in ancient democratic Israel was excused from the Promised Land when he alienated God and civil society near the end of the Exodus journey in the wilderness.
Modern America did a similar thing in the early West. Sheriffs “warned out” disruptive criminals, advising them to leave town and territory or face more severe consequences.
Even monarchies like that of Queen Elizabeth I understood the need for wild political figures to be reined-in, or, actually, reined-out. When Sir Walter Raleigh got too rambunctious on British soil, the Queen essentially exiled him to explore the New World.
Woods Cross UT