"Why? Because you're perfect for the job, of course. Because after the vicious aberration that was Baltar's presidency, and the bitter disappointment that was Roslin's, you are a shining beacon of hope." True enough. "Only hope is the last thing we need. We're a doomed race, and it's time that we made our peace with that essential truth." Lee smiles sweetly, scared now: "Romo, what the hell are you talking about?"
What he's talking about is Lee's well-documented suicidal ideation, his inability to breathe, his Captain Apollo need to believe that just because nothing happens for no reason, it follows that everything must happen for a reason. He's talking about putting on the mask of death and asking Lee to look him in the eye; he's giving voice to the secret fear in the back of Laura's head every second of every day. He's asking if we're worthy of survival, in the form of an essay question. "Yes" is an easy answer. "Why" is much harder.
The President of the Twelve Colonies stands between her people and anarchy, and makes awful scary choices every single day, and nobody makes more sense than Laura Roslin. But what nobody really talks about is that the President of the Twelve Colonies also stands between her people and darkness. Every second of the day and all through the night, like a mother bear, growling, snapping, hissing, bleeding for them. Shouting into the darkness, and shining in it. She writes the names of the dead on her heart, scratches them into her skin like a razor. And she does this because at the end of the journey, they're going to open that box, and the Fleet will either be dead or it will be alive, and if it survives it must be worthy of survival. She is Athena, all the time: the Goddess, and the regular one too. Mama Bear. Romo knows that ambition is the territory of fools and innocents: once you attain power, it doesn't feel good. It feels like staring into the mask of death, every single second of the day and all through the night. Romo knows. And what gives Romo the right, or the inclination, or the motivation, to put on that black shroud?