Kirk Douglas died last week at 103. Quite an obituary. Talk about humble beginnings. It was noted that Douglas stood up in the 1950s for blacklisted screenwriters like Dalton Trumbo – who wrote not only “Spartacus” but “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus,” and many other great films.

Douglas: “Everybody advised me not to do it [Spartacus] because I wouldn’t be able to work in this town again — and all of that.” But he did anyway, in spite of it all the clandestine threats and intimidation. You’ll recall the classic scene where the slaves, gathered together on the rustic hillside and threatened with crucifixion, are spared their lives — if only they give up Spartacus. One by one, they stand up and shout: “I’m Spartacus!” Courage and camaraderie, that. Douglas, as the scene ends, sheds a tear.

Last week, U.S. senators, Republicans and Democrats alike, gathered together in the majestic Senate chambers. They had the opportunity to stand up against the illegal and unwarranted abuse of power by the emperor (or so he thinks he is) and in essence say; “I’m Spartacus!”  To their great credit, Mitt Romney and Angus King stood — among others.

In my view, courage, justice — and a piece of the republic for which we stand — died when too many senators, fearing they’d never be able to work in this town again, voted “not guilty.”

Join me as I shed a tear today for the nation, and for Kirk Douglas.


Buddy Doyle


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