A Pax Romanica on your house

The New York Times gives us this fascinating op-ed likening the recent outbreak of politically convenient cowardice in our own senate to that of the Roman senate circa 68 B.C. around the time of the great fire at Ostia. That fire included the burning of a Roman fleet and kidnapping of two senators by “pirates”.
While I tend to view 9-11 as more reminiscent of the Reichstadt fire, apparently, this sort of “throw out all semblance of checks and balances, due process and, quite frankly, sanity, because civil rights don’t mean anything when we’re dead” (to paraphrase a recent screaming mimi hysterical op-ed from New York’s Daily News) or other such nonsense… the Times piece shows us that the Ostia fire/Roman model works surprisingly well as an analog to current events.
After the unprecedented ceding of total military power to Pompey the great, who was succeeded by Julius Caesar (himself flush from the spoils he acquired pursuant to the ceding of military power), the Roman republic, which had guaranteed then unheard of rights and privileges to its citizens pretty much not to be seen again until the American Revolution, was over, and the Roman Empire was born.
A cautionary tale. Given the astounding ignorance of most Americans as to most of our own civic details, knowledge of the details of Rome’s decline into dictatorship is not exactly au courant here (unlike, say, what or who Paris Hilton is doing, for example.)
Who knows, really? Maybe our own ceding of dictator-like powers to Caesar ultimately won’t render us all unto Caesar. I’m not sure that’s how you bet, though.