Making (y)our country great again

Making (y)our country great again

Yesterday passed in a kind of et tu Brute mood. The drubbing the American electorate has delivered to the US establishment is so similar to that dished out by the British who voted to leave the EU in June.

I have tried to get into the mind-set of people on both sides of the Atlantic who have bought the rhetoric about ‘making our country great again.’ I have failed, which is probably not a wise admission for a teller of stories, but a dignified one for a woman who identifies herself as human first, white European second and a proud resident of Scotland third.

Too down for an evening of entertainment, I looked up the rise and fall of Benito Mussolini.

I found a series The Road to War, which was written and narrated by Charles Wheeler and first broadcast on BB2 in the autumn of 1989.

With the phrase et tu Brute in mind, I chose to watch episode 4 about the rise and fall of Benito Mussolini and of fascism in Italy.

What an operatic, bombastic speaker he was. I watched appalled and fascinated by the shape of his mouth and lower jaw. As the featured image and some of the footage in the documentary show, Mussolini played the he-man long before Putin.

Of course he wanted to make his country great again. In an excerpt from a speech condemning the Nazis’ first attempt to annex Austria, he boasted that the peoples north of the Rhine had been illiterate barbarians in the time of Caesar, Virgil and Augustus, the time when Rome, if not all of Italy, had been great.

Maybe those who want to make Britain and the USA great again need to remember that like Rome’s, much of the ‘greatness’ was achieved through slavery and warfare.