BY STEVE BATES
We have entered the age of government by tweet. President-Elect Donald Trump has already perfected the strategy of cranking out a 140-character message at any hour to change the way that the wheels of power spin.
What if great leaders of the past had been forced to communicate in this manner? Would they have found Twitter too restrictive? Or could they have adapted to the format?
As it turns out, a few great men and women were ahead of their time in this regard. Consider the short message that Julius Caesar dashed off to the Roman Senate after he had achieved a quick victory in the Battle of Zela.
JCaesar 47 BC
I came. I saw. I conquered.
What could be more concise? By the way, historians still debate whether Battle of Zela was an actual military conflict or a prototype video game.
Nearly two millennia later, a bunch of rebels hunched over a wooden desk in sunny Philadelphia crafted the following missive.
JAdams 4 July 1776
When in the course of human events…. Hmm. On second thought, let’s get right to it. We’re mad as hell, Great Britain, and we’re not going to take it anymore.
Soon thereafter came the task of writing the U.S. Constitution. This effort required great thought to preserve important rights and establish effective governance. However, our Founding Parents were able to compress the document quite skillfully.
TJefferson 13 Sept 1787
Free speech and religion. Lots of guns. No self-incrimination. President, Congress and Courts (please try to get along). We’ll figure out that slavery thing later.
Alas, that last part turned out to be a mistake. In the midst of the Civil War, one of our greatest presidents journeyed to Gettysburg, Pa., to lament the loss of life and to give this inspiring speech.
ALincoln 19 Nov 1863
87 years ago we became a country. The men buried here died so we could keep it one. Let’s stick together, people.
Of course, we continued to fight war after war. Yet one of the biggest threats to our existence came not in a declared war but in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Who could forget President Kennedy’s stirring message to Nikita Khrushchev.
JFK 20 Oct 1962
Get those missiles out now, Niki, or Fidel’s little island will glow in the dark for the next 10,000 years.
Life in the U.S. was pretty sweet after that until some folks tried to change health care and enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Here’s how they put it into effect:
DCDems 21 Mar 2010
Health insurance for everybody, or pay a fine. Pre-existing conditions covered. Get financial aid for premiums–well, some of you. Have lots of choices for plans and doctors–except in most states. But it’s really good, trust us.
What can we expect in the future? Maybe something like this:
DTrump 1 Feb 2017
My laptop won’t boot. I’m getting Mister Rogers reruns instead of CNN. Everything’s been hacked. Get Vlad on the hotline!