“Infamy, Infamy! They’ve all got it out for me!”
Fun Fact- Two years before ‘the thing’ happened to Julius Caesar, he uprooted the Roman New Year from being March 15th to January, you guessed it, 1st. People were angry because technically Caesar didn’t do his astrological math right, and January 1st wasn’t the true date according to numbers, of one full year’s cycle. Caesar ignored it and forged ahead, saying that the way to undo his misstep was by adding on one day to February every 4 years (What is – Leap Year). Then, two trips around the sun later our man Julius gets butchered by his Senate on the original New Years’ Day.
Which has left me thinking, on this very doomed day, does “beware the Ides of March” really mean beware March 15th? Or does it mean beware of a past life you tried to expunge that may surely come back to haunt you?
I wasn’t around when Caesar announced to the masses that the day they held sacred, their celebrated day of renewal, had now jumped 3 months ahead. When you insert yourself into this situation, it kind of makes sense why people would be angry. What would you do if the POTUS told us all to throw away our calendars and start fresh? Christmas was actually no longer Christmas, it was the day of the sun and it was April 23. 4th of July was no longer 4th of July, it was a national observance and it was on December 1st. And Halloween could no longer be celebrated and Easter was in August. Oh, and by the way, every 4 years, June would have a few extra days thrown on at the end, but only June. Sometimes. But when you found out about this, when news broke, you couldn’t protest. You couldn’t say no, you couldn’t take a vote or fight for religious beliefs, it was just decided for you and put into action the very next day.
This almost exactly what my man Caesar did. Now I’m not against him or his choices. It’s hard to have any sort of opinion on it when he was the foundation of not only our calendar, but my religious calendar as well. But if you think about it from the Romans’ standpoint, this was in so many ways, shattering.
If I could sit down with old Julius (may he rest in peace) and ask him about his decision, I would bet a handful of solidus’ that he meant no ill harm towards to the Roman people. He added up his numbers and found his god and so like any good dictator would do, forced the people beneath him to agree, as he was trying to benefit their lives. When he was mapping out the phases of the moon I doubt he was thinking, “I might totally get stabbed for this.”
Now let me add, I do not think that changing the new year’s date was the reason Caesar got nearly harpooned by his pals. But the fact that these men planned it out on the day of the original new year cannot be just a coincidence.
So I can’t but to try to find the poetry in it all, the lesson. The forewarning.
Deciding what is right for another human being is not only invasive and overbearing – its abrasive. It is silencing, it is erasing. It is taking what someone believes in, right or wrong, and telling them that you have found a new way, and this is how it should be done. I didn’t know Caesar, but something tells me this man did not get up on a podium, address the Roman people and tell them, I am sorry. I’m sorry that this new scientific information was found and you are learning the hard way that to grow also means to break. I am sorry, that stepping into knowledge and accuracy also means admitting you were wrong, that you were lied to. I’m sorry. But know that you did your best, but now it is time to do better. Be patient, this will take getting used to. Let’s talk about it; I will put away my own bias if you lay down yours, too. Change is difficult, but stagnancy is catastrophic.
We are in a time in American history where every single individual is being attacked. Every single body and soul is being put in the pillory, neck and wrists locked, waiting to be stoned and put to shame. Each and every one of us are both on the scaffold, and in the crowd chanting. There is not one of us who is not being pointed at and told, “you are wrong.” And there is not one of us who is not screaming, “my way is right.”
Julius Caesar truly believed that what he was doing was for the overall bettering of common life. And who’s to say he was wrong? But what he did not do, I can guess from the stab wounds to his body, was ask anyone how this would break their hearts.
We cannot demand that anyone change their roots because we see how it is ignorant, inaccurate, and problematic. But what we can do is show them the wisdom we have gathered, lay it side by side with theirs, and show them how being static can’t work anymore now that we see truth. And then, and only then, do we all allow ourselves to be wrong, to be embarrassed, to grieve. If we do not, our arrogance will impale us all.
But thanks to Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, the Roman Senate, and the soothsayer, we cannot say we have not been warned.