Tag Archives: politics

Imagine America with a Queen

29 Jul

I don’t think too many Britons say nasty things about their Queen.

They don’t object to her politics because she really doesn’t have any. They may get mad at all the money – their money – she spends on palaces and servants, but they get over that.

What she represents is them, the collective whole, and they seem to appreciate it, rally round it, and draw strength from it.

A keen memory of mine is from a dinner toast at a British embassy. It consisted of two words that meant 10,000. It was simple and so reverent:

“The Queen.”

The leader and figurehead of the United States, by contrast, is called names and blamed for all kinds of bad things. His motives are questioned, as if he refuses out of spite to use clear and easy solution to big and complicated problems. It is frequently suggested that he is out to destroy America — on purpose.

Not so with a queen.

I was never much for monarchy. In fact, a favorite movie line of mine comes from Monty Python after, I think, a noble personage advises a lowly peasant, “I’m your king,” and gets the answer, “Well I didn’t vote for you.”

But seeing Queen Elizabeth at the Olympics, sitting there as an honored representation of all Great Britain, inspired envy.

From afar, and perhaps in fact, the British seem to have a cultural homogeneity that the U.S. does not. While Britain is markedly divided by class and is mixed racially (from immigration), there is something holding all together.

You only have to listen to the way the Brits sing their anthem “Jerusalem” to know this. They did so at the Olympics and it moved even me, a non-Brit. The final, powerful verse is:


I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,

Till we have built Jerusalem,

In England’s green and pleasant Land


Americans love being Americans, but we are a country of individualists. We can be distrustful of each other. Our tendency is to work on our own to improve our lives, not to work collectively for a new Jerusalem. In Britain and much of Europe, there is a collective desire to see that all have health care, that all can afford higher education, that all can get around on trains, subways and buses.

We don’t have that in the states. We do have the Interstate Highway system, but only because the military needed evacuation routes in case of nuclear war.

The American continent does have a distant legacy of working as a tribe. But the ways of the Native American people never had an impact on the rugged, go-it-alone settlers.

Hardworking, innovative Americans have performed technological and economic miracles working alone. It was this kind of culture that allowed us to break from the English, better them and pretty much rule the world.

Still, I feel as if we lack something as a people. When I see the Queen of England, who I didn’t vote for, I have this wish that we could get behind our leaders in a forceful way that lifts our spirits and moves us ahead quicker. Of course, such a system would require that leaders be pure of heart and dedicated to the American cause and not their own.

This would be the hardest thing to accomplish, even if we gave them all palaces.

A different kind of 1 percenter

20 Jan

A friend said he is rooting against the San Francisco 49ers because he doesn’t want the people who voted for Nancy Pelosi to have the satisfaction of a Super Bowl champion.

A scheme for making politics civil

26 Dec

I consider my local congressman a friend, even if I don’t agree with all his party’s policies. I’m especially opposed to its extreme wing, which at present seems to dominate. Its traditional philosophy is sound and sensible but was retired sometime ago.

When I saw my local congressman at a Christmas party, we both bemoaned the state of the nation, the ineffectiveness of Congress and the horrid, incivility of politics. In a fit of frivolity, my friend the congressman suggested I run against him. He said we could both vow to wage a polite, positive campaign.

On the hustings, in full public view, we could hug and ask about each other’s families.

Such a campaign would surely get us viral national press coverage and perhaps start a moment that would alter, if ever so slightly, the face of politics.

I, of course, wouldn’t have a chance of winning.

He, with his organization, experience and a redistricting that went squarely in his favor, would kill. No bother. My goal, and part of his, would be to establish a template for a rational, thoughtful campaign that would seriously address the issues. There would be no pandering, and no ripping the other person or distorting his views.

We wouldn’t go big with discovered evidence that one of us may have, at one point in our lives, been mean to a dog.

We issue complements and acknowledge each other’s intelligence, competence, moral character and desire to help the nation.

If publicity came, it could rally people around us and have other candidates make the same pledge.

It is a very tempting idea. If I were a self-sufficient man, and I am not, I would quit my job and surely do it. It would bring inner satisfaction and an authentic sense of purpose.

I worry about our nation, our people, our economy, our will, our unity and our place in the world. This plan, hatched with laughs at a party, would take me off the sidelines and allow me to at least do something about all that.

A nice dream.

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