Tyranny; Today and Yesterday

            In today’s context the word tyranny has a very negative connotation.  We automatically think of mediaeval or generally pre-modern warlords and harsh rulers of whom are infamously remembered.  However the original definition and understanding of who a tyrant was does not parallel with the modern context of the definition.  Previously a tyrant was anyone who came into power without royal lineage or otherwise blood or marital relations to the previous leader.  At this time, the idea of tyrants was often praised as many of them came to power with support of the people and often replaced an existing regime’s policy with something better.  In this change of connotation we must study the timelines of tyrants to grasp what led to this shift in the vernacular.

            In the archaic society of Ancient Greece tyrants where often seen as good for the society.  In this period of time there were a rise in the number of tyrants in many of the city states.  Tyranny itself in this time was not exactly sought out but the tyrants who found themselves in power often did a great job.  An example of this being the Greek tyrant Peisistratos.  Known for overthrowing the Athenian democracy he did so bringing about a very successful policy.  Under his rule a stable coinage developed, arts, road systems, and other architectural feats.  In this period tyrants were very successful and gained the following of those whom they came to rule.  A shift in the idea of what it meant to be a tyrant came as the classical idea of democracy arose in Greece.

            In 508 BCE the Cleisthenes’ Reforms brought about what we now know as classical democracy.  In this revelation started the course that changed the meaning of tyranny to what we understand to be the definition today.  In the article I read, The New Face of Tyranny, by Paul Rahe, he used the word in the context we understand tyranny to mean today.  He speaks on how tyranny has been around for centuries and just how it has only evolved to fit in with the modern political structure we see today.  Interestingly enough, without explicitly stating the same theme I’ve stated, he describes just how tyranny has changed and what led to this shift.  “If we are to understand our present predicament, we will have to take into account just how fragile liberal democratic regimes are and the preconditions for their survival. In this regard, as Montesquieu insisted, size matters.” (Rahe, 1) In this statement he goes on to describe that the size of governments in reference to their increase in stature was the reason for a tyrant to be seen in a negative connotation.  If a state is large then the tyrant must increase measures of fear or otherwise harsh tactics to keep people at bay, showing the weakness in a democracy.  Rahe’s idea on tyranny relates directly to the theme that implies tyranny as a negative form of government.

            Tyranny in general has shifted from a very neutral word to what we now understand to parallel with a dictator.  Time and the growth of democratic civilizations have brought about this change in the connotation of the word.

-Brandon Volontiya

Word Count: 535

Sheriff Jerry Hatcher: An Accused Tyrant Of Bento County

Language, like the flow of a river, changes and evolves over time. Words or phrases that may have had one meaning at a particular point in time may have its meaning or message change as society and norms changed. It is because of this common process that certain words used today to describe varias events or people vary greatly from their original intended use or description. One of the most common words used today that differs from its original definition is the term tyrant. This term is used very often in modern society to identify those whose power and greed has corrupted their character so much that they are willing to enact downright atrocious and oppressive laws and ideologies in order to secure their dominance and power over others. Further more, the word tyrant is currently defined in the dictionary as a cruel and oppressive ruler by nature, and this definition has held true for over hundreds. However, despite the possible disbelief of much of society and those of societies through the last couple thousands of years, the word tyrant was originally the title given to a ruler in ancient Greece prior to its conversion to democracy. These rulers, or tyrants, were individuals who rose to power without hereditary within the Greek city states. These rulers were not automatically considered sinister or terrible as there were many good tyrants who ruled Greek city state as well many who were not good leaders. It was not until Greece had a line of bad tyrants, as well as damning prophecies and oracles,did the word tyrant take on such a negative stigma.

Though the word tyrant has changed from being the equivalent to that of a king to that of a despicable dictator, it is still important to acknowledge the parallels between the two versions in order to adequately assess its use in modern times. For example, an article published Monday, February 3rd 2020 discusses the leadership of a Sheriff in Benton County in Eastern Washington. Sheriff Jerry Hatcher, age 56, has been compared to that of a tyrant by his constituency as a result of accusations of poor actions and a flawed leadership style. 

A two page letter written by those who work for Sheriff Hatcher outline their concerns about their trust in Mr. Hatcher and his self serving interests. The letter states that Sheriff Hatcher sees himself above those who work for him, accuses him of tampering with the witness proces, and goes on to state that, “Hatcher does not hold himself to the same accountability as a deputy” (Associated Press). The department also fines Hatcher unworthy of his title as he is in the middle of dealing with an assault scandal/accusation by his estranged wife claiming that he had strangled and threatened her back in 2017. This case was dismissed however on the account that the prosecutors did not gather enough evidence, but the case can still be refiled at a later date (Kraemer, Kristen M.).

Though the fate of Benton County’s Sheriff is still uncertain, the accusation of being a tyrant can be assessed. After reviewing two articles that discuss Mr. Hatcher as well as information in regards to how the courts handled the assault claims against him, I believe that Sheriff Hatcher does not fall in the realm of a tyrant by either definition. If the accusations of his conduct turn out to be accurate, then I would say Sheriff Hatcher more or less fits the modern definition of a tyrant. However, given his position of high status and decision making power, I would argue that Sheriff Hatcher, by the nature of the responsibility and control of the position of sheriff, places him closer to the original definition of a tyrant as he, within his community and the police department, carries much control and protective power. Furthermore it is his role as sheriff to govern over the wellbeing and safety of Benton County, Washington.

-MIDN Christopher Hisey Word Count:658

Associated Press, KEPR-TV News. “Benton Co. Deputies Vote ‘No Confidence’ in Sheriff, Label Him a ‘Tyrant’.” KOMO, KOMO, 3 Feb. 2020, komonews.com/news/local/benton-co-deputies-vote-no-confidence-in-sheriff-label-him-a-tyrant.

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Kraemer, Kristin M. “Prosecutors Dismiss Criminal Charges against Benton County Sheriff Hatcher.” Tri, Tri-City Herald, 16 Oct. 2019, http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article236339593.html.

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America: A Modern Babylon?

The law code formulated by the Babylonian king Hamerabi was the first time there was a written code for how to punish criminals in the ancient world. By modern standards, his law code is seen as a harsh and brutal form of the justice system. However, there are similarities in the law code to our current legal system, and the biases that exist in both. It is apparent in the code of Hammurabi that if you were of a higher socio-economic status, punishments were more lenient than those given to the minority class for the same crime. In our current society, we’ve made strides to combat the marginalizing and unfair treatment of minorities. However, there are still instances where our modern justice system fails to prevent even obvious bias and racism finding their way into court decisions. 

For example, there were court cases conducted in the state of Florida. The first case was for Chase Legleitner, a nineteen year old white young man, for the crime of armed robbery in 2008. The second case took place in 2011 and was for a twenty-one year old  black young man by the name of Lamar Lloyed who was also arrested for the crime of armed robbery. Both cases were very similar as far as the fact that both young men had the same judge. However, the sentencing for both cases were vastly different. Chase Legleitner received a short two years in prison, whereas Lloyed received twenty-six years in prison. The only difference in the cases was race, and there wasn’t any explanation from judge Bauer  extremely different rulings.

In truth, the laws by which do share similar concepts of justice where in most cases crimes are punished with sentences that equate to the crimes committed, obviously without the brutal flare of Hammerabi’s law code, by serving time in prison or paying large amounts of money. Sadly, it is also true to draw similarities to the law code in how our modern system of judging people still falls short of preventing bias and racism from finding its way into court decisions. Just as a free man would receive a less brutal punishment than a slave would for committing the same crime, so too does a person of minority receive a harsher punishment than those of a higher socio-economic status for the same crime in the modern era.

This fact stand as an unfortunate reminder that though there have been great strides towards equality in recent history, there is still more to be done to ensure that people of all races and statuses are treated equally. One way to do this would be to make ordinary people more aware of such issues, and continue to elect unbiased individuals into the legal system. Time and time again, it has been proven that with increased awareness, issues such as these are conversed about and solved. Though we have come far from the brutal force of hammerabi’s law code, the similarities in their failure of its failure of justice still exists even in the modern era.
-Midn Chris Hisey Word Count: 509

snope.com/fact-check/legleitner-lloyd-florida-race-sentence/

Modern Day Tyranny

Nobody wants to be ruled by a tyrant, at least not in the the modern sense of the word. The modern day definition of tyranny is described as a “cruel and oppressive government or rule.” A tyrant is thought of as someone who rules with absolute power and has no regard for the people they rule. The only concern of a modern day tyrant is doing whatever it takes rather it be moral or not to preserve their own status and expand their power and wealth. In ancient times before democracy a tyrant was seen much differently.

Tyranny, in a pre-modern sense referred to “an autocratic form of rule in which one individual exercised power without any legal restraint.” In pre-modern times a tyrant was someone who ruled with absolute power and who came into power by their own efforts or elected to rule. So for ancient civilizations a tyrant was not necessarily a bad or malicious ruler, it really depended on the specific tyrant.

In Waller R. Newell’s article, “To defeat a tyranny today, look to the past” it dives into many different modern day examples of “tyranny” and that it is challenging democracy. This articles categorizes three different types of tyrant: tyrants who run their countries like Mafia dons, tyrants who want acclaim and influence, and totalitarian tyrants.

Tyrants who run their countries like Mafia dons are said to be the “oldest type in their class” and also the most frequently represented. This type of tyrant is the most popular type of modern day tyrant usually the one represented in a film or play. It refers to the rich and cruel sexual deviant. This definition is probably the most stereotypical form of the word.

The tyrant who wants acclaim and influence is one of the most recognized in today’s world. In the article they give an example of Frederick the Great who achieved sovereignty over most of Prussia in the late 1700s. These types of tyrants want to expand territory and build prosperous states which actually benefit ordinary people.

Then, there are tyrants who are totalitarians. These are your tyrants like Rogue, Bolshevik, and Hitler. These tyrannies usually involve some type genocide against a lower class or race. Totalitarian tyrants usually want a type of “collectivist utopia submerging the individual in a monolithic, all-encompassing state.”

The way tyrant is used in the article is almost spot on with what we think of as a tyrant today. This idea of a man who seems to have absolute power using it to pursue his own personal agenda or goals is prevalent in all the forms presented in the article. These ideas of modern day tyrants shy far away from the ancient definition. The most relatable quality about these modern day examples of tyranny is that these tyrants do come to power by their own resolve.

http://theconversation.com/to-defeat-tyranny-today-look-to-the-past-81014

Problematic Policy

While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren may have promised to forgive the debt students have racked up, and provide them with free education, their plan is just as impractical much as Solon’s was. Sanders and Warren have gained support and popularity as they advocate for student loan forgiveness. It seems as though initially this policy would have extremely positive effects on the middle and lower class. The same was true for Solon. Those who had never ending debt that they could never truly repay, were suddenly free of this burden. In the case of ancient Greece, the upper class were at a loss under Solon’s seisachtheia. They would never be paid back they money and resources that they loaned. They were not the only ones who were dissatisfied. The poor who were borrowing from the wealthy no longer had a means of purchasing grain in order to plants their next round of crops should they have an unsuccessful season.  If a policy of student loan forgiveness and free education be implemented in the United States, similar problems would occur. Currently, under the proposed policies the expectation is that the federal government will pay off student loan debt and provide a means of achieving a free college education for all. The money to accomplish this however does not exist. As it is, the government will not be able to afford Medicare and social security for its aging citizens due to a disproportionate number of people entering the work force compared to those retiring from it. Higher taxes may need to be implemented in order to correct this. Estimates say that by the end of this year the United States will be twenty trillion dollars in debt. Elizabeth Warren has admitted that her proposal would cost approximately two trillion dollars. If it does not, then educational institutions will not be paid. Ultimately, this would cause many of them to decline and become unable to pay professors. High quality education will become even rarer, or more exclusive to institutions whose students come from wealthy backgrounds, and are able to afford tuition. Colleges will begin to turn away students unwilling to pay a high price for their education, or who will be relying on student loan forgiveness. In this scenario, student loan forgiveness will have the opposite of its intended effect. Warren and Sanders are proposing policies that would result in one of two outcomes. Either educational institutions go without being paid, or the federal government takes on even more debt. Should this policy be implemented under one of their presidencies, they will likely have to face discontent Americans just as Solon had to face angry Greeks.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2019/06/25/the-moral-hazard-of-student-loan-forgiveness/#7f434cb6364c

https://www.britannica.com/topic/land-reform/History-of-land-reform#ref320298

Solon vs. Sanders: Relieving Debt

A hot topic for this year’s election with the Democratic presidential candidates is centered on the idea of forgiving student debt. In comparison to Solon and his set of laws, the Seisachtheia, there can be similarities found in terms of management of debt and equality for the general population, but there are some differences that can be identified from the results of both.

One of the top runners for the Democratic Party is Bernie Sanders, who has a strong focus on the cancelling student debt in order to improve America, not just for generations to come but overall. Bernie Sanders wishes to provide the country with the opportunity for free college to improve literacy rates. This would open up education for all, regardless of “the income of [their] family” (Bernie Sanders).

Solon’s economic program, which involved the relief of debt slavery that occurred in Athens, seems comparable to Sanders’ modern idea. They both relate to the removal of debt from specific parties of people that is most relevant to their times. However, some may argue that today’s standards are not as severe as the past, because Solon’s laws were for very low-class individuals subjected to slavery to pay off dues. This meant that their loans were dependent on their life, while today, loans can be paid off through installments of money from working a job, and not to mention, slavery is illegal. Both ideals are meant to provide a common ground among the people. With Sanders, he allows for individuals from all flocks of life to gain access to higher education; with Solon, he allowed individuals from a lower background have the opportunity to be freer.

The results from both of these programs have negative outcomes that outweigh the more positive aspect of them. For Solon, his laws did in fact end slavery but ended up putting a great deal of people out of a job. It did more harm than good. In the case of eradicating all student debt, which would be a total of “$1.5 trillion in student loan debt guaranteed by the federal government,” this will be absolutely true in the future (Vedder). While forgiving the debt will greatly help poor college students who are greatly affected, it will drive the American economy into the ground and set an unfair disadvantage among certain college students

Sanders’ proposal for where the source of money would be coming from in order to pay off the debt is from the government. Our national debt is already at an uncomfortably high amount but to spend even more money (a total of $1.5 trillion) towards student debt will only raise it even higher (Vedder). Another issue around this is where the money will actually originate from which leads to the next point, because the money would be from taxpayers. The payment would fall back on the general population affecting even those who may have “[taken] out student loans, worked hard, lived frugally and paid off … what they borrowed” (Sloan). Those who are in far worse situations in debt will greatly benefit; on the other hand, those who had specifically chosen cheaper alternatives for education and worked hard to achieve this, will be set into paying for others.

Finally, by implementing a wide spread debt forgiveness program, be it slightly similar to Solon’s Seisachtheia, a great number of Americans will be negatively affected nonetheless. As previously stated, America’s economy will essentially collapse because of the rise in national debt and although the purpose is to “even the playing field” for everyone, it will be quite the opposite for those who were able to pay off even a portion of their student debt.

—Waehung Ng

Word Count: 580

“Free College, Cancel Debt.” Bernie Sanders – Official Campaign Website, 2020, berniesanders.com/issues/free-college-cancel-debt/.

Sloan, Allan. “Perspective | Canceling All Student Debt Is a Bad Idea.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 July 2019, http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/canceling-all-student-debt-is-a-bad-idea/2019/07/05/09b3d11a-9dc4-11e9-85d6-5211733f92c7_story.html.

Vedder, Richard. “Why Bernie Sanders’ Higher Ed Plan Is A Terrible Idea.” Forbes, 26 June 2019, http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardvedder/2019/06/26/sanders-seductive-scholastic-socialistic-syllogisms/#10b561293e68.

President Trump and the Common Misuse of “Tyrant”

            The truth, as surprising as it may seem, is that “tyrant” is not an inherently negative word. In fact, it has no connotation at all. “Tyrant”, by Webster’s definition, is “an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution”. As a proud member of a western society, I feel uneasy about that definition, but it is simply because democratic societies train us to demand a constitution, checks and balances, and power vested in the people. In classical Greek times, tyrannies popped up all over the Mediterranean. Some were successful and some were not, but they were the most prominent way of governing. After democracy developed in Athens, the notion of a tyranny being unacceptable flourished. Time has since corrupted the meaning of the word completely and, today, journalists, citizens, and reporters sling the term around with little understanding the true, ancient meaning. Most recently and frequently, President Trump has fallen victim to the misuse of the word. In Foreign Policy’s article “The Tyrannical Mr. Trump,” Michael Hirsh has uniquely captured the true, ancient meaning of the word as he unpacks possible outcomes of President Trump’s potential impeachment and removal process. It is important to note that while Hirsh does a successful job of defining the term and relating it to Trump, he writes with a bias hand.

            The definition has two parts: 1. “An absolute ruler,” and 2. “Unrestrained by law or constitution”. Hirsh unraveled both aspects of the term.

            First, Hirsh determines that Trump has completely neglected all demands of a constitutional democracy. For example, he outlines Trump’s shady past in foreign policy and how he has used his positional inappropriately. He relates this back to the second portion of the definition. Hirsh claims, “This president has little use for the Constitution or the traditions of American democracy. He sides with the autocrats of the world because he himself is one—or, at the very least, aspires to be”. I agree with him in the way he mentioned the disregard for the Constitution, which corresponds directly to a Tyrant. However, I disagree with the use of “autocrat”. When discussing and analyzing a ruler, it blurs the argument when Hirsh mixes “autocrat” and “tyrant” as if they are interchangeable when they are not.

            The line between modern and ancient definitions blurs only when Hirsh cites Trump’s intimidation techniques and his arguably offensive personality. This reminds me of the current, publically accepted definition of tyranny, “a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally”. After elaborately comparing Trump’s unorthodox tendencies and comparing him to Hitler, Hirsh leaves his audience with a question, “If Trump is convicted in the end and refuses to leave office, who exactly will remove him?” Although it is interpolation and partially opinion, Hirsh begs the reader to turn their attention to the first portion of the ancient definition of “tyrant”: absolute.

            To summarize, Hirsh, through his bias, does properly use the ancient definition of “Tyrant” for the majority of his article. This is a rare occurrence, especially in a world of “fake news” and dirty media, as the public would immediately equate tyranny to dictatorship as the ancient Greeks roll over in their graves.    

Ava Harding                                                                                                          536 Words

Debt Elimination Part 2?

The idea of alleviating the stress of debt on the common man for the betterment of society is a common goal of many democratic politicians in modern society. Those such as the democratic front runners of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have even made this concept a centerpiece of their successful campaigns. However, this grand idea is not as new and revolutionizing as it seems. Back in the 594 BC, Solon was nominated to be the ruler of Athens and was the first person in history to take on this massive feat. The collection of ideas among Solon, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren carry multiple similarities in their efforts to relieve stress upon the lives of the common man, but the unforeseen effects of such actions can take a drastic turn. 

Starting with Solon as the ruler of Athens in 594 BC, his groundbreaking policy was known as “seisachleia”. This policy nullified all debts, outlawed debt slavery, opened the courts and jury duty to the common man, and made public offices by “lot” rather than inheritance. To the poor, the policy was that of a dream. The common man was freed from his intensive labor and dismay to allow for the betterment of his life and the lives of those around him. Solon decided to make these actions in an effort to repair and Athens that was recently in complete dismay. There was an overall lack of order and the rich aristocracy was imbuing its cruel economic power over the poor. Although these reforms made immense opportunities for the poor, the wealthy aristocrats still revolted against Solon’s ruling and refused to give out any more loans to the poor. This then decreased most opportunities for the poor to regain their wealth and grow into a meaningful member of society leaving an overall discontent in society with Solon’s seisachleia.

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, aim to do a modern version of Solon’s action with their plans to eliminate student debt in the United States. Elizabeth Warren’s plan involves taking into account the household’s annual income to determine how much student debt will be erased while Bernie Sanders simply plans to eliminate all student debt as a whole. These ideas of the major democratic politicians carry many similarities to that of Solon and unfortunately may see the same aftermath should the plans be put into action. Student debt represents the debt of the slaves, metics, and poor of Athens as they took out loans from the wealthy with the goal of bettering their standing in society and future earnings. With the elimination of this debt in today’s society, trillions in dollars of owed money would be erased and similar to what happened in Athens, the wealthy will be enraged. The complete or major elimination of student debt have the potential to, “raise the GDP by almost $1.1 trillion over the next decade, create up to 1.5 million new jobs per year and lower the unemployment rate up to 0.36 percentage points over a decade,” as stated by Max Fay in his article for Debt.org. However, this comes at the cost of the United States government losing billions of dollars since the majority of the debt is owed directly to them. Sanders attempts to make up for this deficit with the idea to impose an increased tax on Wall Street, but this will only cause unforeseen effects on the global market which could, in turn, affect the country as a whole. 

All in all, whether it be Solon in Athens or 594 BC or Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in 2020 the idea to completely eliminate a major source of debt is simply too radical. I propose a more systematic approach of eliminating student debt with the lowering of tuition at public institutions and the elimination of student debt for those attending college from the established poverty classification in American society. Too major of a change can have too major of effects that will, in the end, upset more people than it will please, but only time will tell.

Word Count: 684

MIDN Ben Werve

Modern Seisachtheia? — Not Likely

Over the last decade, the cost of higher education in the United States has increased by over twenty five percent, and the outstanding debt from student loans surpassed $1.5 trillion in early 2018.  The outstanding debt isn’t an issue exclusive to young Americans, but is felt across all ages groups, most notably, the 35-49 year old age range. With so much pressure felt across the majority of the population, it’s no surprise that various politicians have made this issue a central part of their economic plan.  

Enter two of the Democratic front runners in the 2020 election: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  In the age of increasingly polarizing politics, these two have sprung for far left economic policies of debt forgiveness.  Sanders has taken a blanket approach, whereas Warren has opted for a more conservative approach, forgiving up to 95% of outstanding debt across the nation.  The plans call for around $85 billion a year annually from the nations tax revenue, which would increase as well. However, this plan has not been without its detractors, as debt forgiveness has been a controversial issue since the time of ancient Greece.

Debt forgiveness has been likened to the reforms instituted by the Athenian Solon in 594 BCE.   During that time, the practice of debt slavery was widespread, and economic inequality was vast (not unlike the present United States).  Solon opted to cancel debt slavery and outlaw the practice, as well as cancel all outstanding debt. This had a less than ideal outcome as the economy was crippled as many people lost debt owed to them that they were dependent on.  The lower classes now also had no collateral for which to take loans, which caused the economy to stagnate as there was a lack of stimulation and expansion as funds ceased to flow.  

On the surface, it almost seems that the current plan for debt cancellation is similar to Solons Seisachtheia; however, there is a key difference: paying back the debtors.  The plan to cancel student debt only cancels the debt to the individual, with the banks still receiving compensation from the federal government. The idea is that it would free up income for the lower classes and improve other sectors of the economy, specifically the housing market, which is the only sector with more outstanding loans than that of student loan debt.  This is significantly different on an economic level than what Solon did in Athens, as it still allows for a stable economy without the massive “shaking” of the reforms.  

Now, while it might not hinder the economy for the same reason as the Seisachtheia, these plans are not without their controversy or their risks.  First and foremost, the increase in taxes and the expansion of national debt is a serious concern. Also, those who can afford to pay back their loans would be forgiven, and that is a friction point between classes.  Recently, a man confronted Senator Warren about being reimbursed for years of savings spent on college, which she replied, “Of course not”, which bring up ethical issues about the fairness of those who planned ahead and sacrificed to put their children through college.  

The bottom line is that the only major similarity these plans have is the fact that debt to individuals gets cancelled.  The risks and inner workings of the student loan debt forgiveness plans and the Seisachtheia are completely different.

Joshua Williams

Words: 566

Sources

https://www.credit.com/personal-finance/average-student-loan-debt/

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/25/782070151/forgiving-student-debt-would-boost-economy

Tyranny Ancient and Modern)

The term “Tyrant” has been used throughout history and goes all the way back to the Ancient Greeks around the Peloponnesian War era. As history has progressed, the definition of a tyrant has changed quite a bit from its original meaning. A tyrant used to be known as someone who rose to become a ruler through absolute power. They did not inherit or get voted into the role; they took it with force and power. It did not necessarily have a negative connotation to its name back then. Some tyrants were well-liked and not bad people. The way they came to power may not have been ideal or how the system worked, but they still could have a positive impact on society. Nowadays, we usually view a tyrant as a ruler who is corrupt and is driven by greed and self-preservation. This is very relatable today within the United States as some people see our Commander in Chief as a Tyrant ruler amongst the people.

In an article posted by the Washington Examiner, a man named Carl Bernstein claims that the Republican Senators who sided with Trump “joined hands with a tyrant.” This article is talking about the impeachment trial of President Trump and how the decisions of the Senators have a significant impact on the country as a whole. Bernstein‘s definition of the word tyrant, in this case, is being referred to as a cruel/ oppressive leader of the country we live in. Throughout his Presidency, there have been a lot of things that have happened that which people call in to question the morals and reason behind President Trump’s actions.

This article is referring to Trump as a tyrant due to his actions that he has done in the past while in office. I believe that the article means well in trying to make his point by stating that the senators are making a wrong decision. However, when he uses the term “siding with a tyrant,” he is stretching the phrase a little bit. If you were to examine the ancient definition of a tyrant, it has nothing to do with being corrupt or being a wrong person. So if you were to be comparing his use of the word tyrant in comparison to the ancient definition, he would be using it incorrectly. President Trump was elected by the majority of the people, and he went through the election process that our country has. Therefore you cannot necessarily call him a tyrant using the old definition of the word. On the other side, however, if he was using the name with the meaning of a corrupt ruler, then you could make an argument that he is accurate. I think he uses it out of proportion and is not used one hundred percent correctly.

The progression of the word tyrant has come about through years of oppressive rulers that left a bad name for the tyrant ruler. I think we need to take a look back and see how the word used to be used in order to use it in this day and age-appropriately. There are a lot of people who use the word but do not understand its true meaning. 

Word Count: 534

Michael Salisbury

Sources:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/cult-of-trump-carl-bernstein-trashes-senate-republicans-who-joined-hands-with-a-tyrant

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