Peace through victory - the American way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Is 24 Doing The Roman Empire?

America as the new Roman Empire is a meme in contemporary culture. Usually the idea is played out in the international arena with the United States portrayed as an empire meddling in the affairs of other nations to advance its own imperialist agenda.

Rarely is the idea of America as Rome played out in a domestic setting. But 24 seems to be doing it this season. If Americans played politics like the Romans, it would look like this season's 24.

There's the President acting like an emperor making ad hoc decisions with minimal consultation; there's the political attempt to send the President's wife away to a mental hospital; there are the government officials secretly conspiring with terrorists; there's the official who gets caught and then commits suicide under suspicious circumstances; there's the obviously ambitious Vice-President who manipulates the President into declaring martial law; there are the troops on the street; there's the political violence with the murder of President Palmer; there's tonight's attack on Palmer's brother apparently with the involvement of the Vice-President; there's the Department of Homeland Security trying to take control of CTU. It goes on and on.

There is a conspiracy at high levels of the American government. It's not completely clear yet what the conspirators are up to and how high the conspiracy goes, but the Vice-President's manipulation of the President into imposing martial law seems like a big hint.

The terrorists from the unidentified former Soviet Republic running around the streets of Los Angeles with nerve gas probably aren't the real threat to Jack Bauer's America. The season looks like it might be about an attempted coup that will make the United States an empire at home not just abroad.


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Blogger Laura said...

I think you are absolutely right, and what is sad is, given some recent revelations about the Bush administration, I don't think 24 is all that far off.

It particularly pissed me off what Jack did with the German intelligence guy. He created ill will with a US ally, and for what? So they could give immunity to a mercenary in exchange for her naming someone who is in all likelihood not even guilty. Stupid, stupid decision.

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