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On this 15th day of March, two thousand sixty-one years ago, in 41 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate. One of the greatest of all masterpieces of world literature is William Shakespeare’s timeless legendary play—“Julius Caesar.” 

Many politicos use Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”, Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” or Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” as their primer “how-to” book on political maneuvering. I would argue that nobody does it better than Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar”—with more great quotable iambic pentameters than anything comparable in literary history. 

With thanks to the late, great, Sr. Mary Kathleen Saunders, RSM, who made “Julius Caesar” required reading in Sophomore English at Regis—here are the takeaways I use in order to help navigate my way through the very Romanesque Iowa Legislature. 

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; 

The valiant never taste of death but once. 

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 

It seems to me most strange that men should fear; 

Seeing that death, a necessary end, 

Will come when it will come.”

COURAGE

“Men at some time are masters of their fates. 

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

FREE WILL

“Beware the ides of March.”

“‘The ides of March are come.’

Soothsayer: ‘Ay, Caesar; but not gone.’”

HEAD ON SWIVEL

“There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat;

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.”

INEXORABLE TIDE OF HISTORY 

“The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones.”

LEGACY

“And since you know you cannot see yourself,

So well as by reflection, I, your glass,

Will modestly discover to yourself,

That of yourself which you yet know not of.”

SELF-AWARENESS

“There are no tricks in plain and simple faith.”

GUILELESS SOUL

“Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.”

ENTERPRISE

“But I am constant as the Northern Star,

Of whose true fixed and resting quality

There is no fellow in the firmament.”

RESOLVE

“Let me have men about me that are fat… Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

AMBITION

“As he was valiant, I honor him. But as he was ambitious, I slew him.”

JEALOUSY

“What a terrible era in which idiots govern the blind.”

STUPIDITY & INCOMPETENCE

“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”

IGNORANCE & APATHY

“O Judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason!”

REASON OVER PASSION

“And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear, millions of mischiefs.”

DUPLICITY

“I was born free as Caesar; so were you.”

LIBERTY

“How many ages hence

Shall this our lofty scene be acted over,

In states unborn and accents yet unknown!”

HISTORY REPEATS

“But ’tis common proof, 

That lowliness is young ambition’s ladder, Whereto the climber-upward turns his face; 

But when he once attains the upmost round, 

He then turns his back, looks in the clouds, 

scorning the vase defrees by which he did ascend.”

HUBRIS

“Of your philosophy you make no use,

If you give place to accidental evils.”

ENDS CAN’T JUSTIFY MEANS

“O that a man might know

The end of this day’s business ere it come! 

But it sufficeth that the day will end, 

And then the end is known.”

PATIENCE

“A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities.”

LOYALTY

“The abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.”

TYRANNY 

“Fill till the wine o’erswell the cup.”

TAKE THE CANNOLI

“Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,

That you would have me seek into myself

For that which is not in me?”

TO THINE OWNSELF BE TRUE

Rep. Jacobsen “came to bury Caesar, not to praise him!”

 

Author: Jon Jacobsen, B.S.B.A., J.D.

Rep. Jon A. Jacobsen, J.D. (R-Council Bluffs), is newly re-elected member of the Iowa Legislature, as Iowa State Representative from District 22 (Pottawattamie County). Jacobsen serves in the House as Vice-Chairman of the Commerce Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Ethics Committee, and in addition is seated on the State Government and Agriculture Appropriations Committees. Jon won his 2016 election by the largest percentage margin of votes in modern district history, engendering a huge voter turnout of nearly 75% of all registered district voters for a mid-term, non-Senate cycle. A married father of three, Jon is a bank senior trust officer/vice president, attorney (Univ. of Iowa Law alumnus), and has won a dozen Iowa Broadcast News Association Awards for Radio programming, including for Political Coverage, Public Affairs, In-Depth Series, Feature, and Overall Best Use of Online Media.