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Timeless Aristophanes

The Athenian playwright Aristophanes (ca. 446 – 386) directed his cutting wit at various customs and values of Athenians. Preferring the more aristocratic elements of Athenian politics and society, he takes particular joy in mocking the more democratic facets of Athenian life and politics. As such, he relentlessly scorns the Athenian Assembly. With the twist of comedy that renders him timeless, he suggests that Athens’ enemies should pay for the Assembly.

The democratic shenanigans of pandering to the people is as old as written history itself. Aristophanes reminds us that the most democratic elements of our government are not always the most useful or effective.

But we don’t need this reminder lately. The approval rating of the United States Congress is at an all-time low of 14%. The 86% of Americans who are not drooling morons (who are these mouth- breathing 14% and how do they even make it through the day without jabbing forks in their eyes?) are aware that our Congress is in complete and utter disarray.

Unlike Aristophanes, I am not of the opinion that the more elite political players can perform any better (despite my best wishes). But in my frustration with Congress, I do take some solace in the well-crafted humor of Athens’ greatest dramatist.

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