Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Plug for Monarchy

Her Royal Highness the Queen of England is celebrating 60 years of ruling.  I am impressed, pleased, amused, and very respectful.  I might add here that a Fleur-de-Lys flag flies above my house. Why? Because I am at heart a royalist. I think George W. (Washington, not the other guy) missed the boat when he was asked to be king of America and declined. Nowadays, it seems to me most folks whom we have elected or named to positions of vast influence have been sadly lacking in honesty, mores and experience at serving the public trust. So why not rely instead on professionals, i.e. a royal family well-versed in presenting the country's best side, promoting commerce, and, generally, staying above the party politics and special interests that permeate government today?

The Royalist Party of America--yes, there is one--makes an excellent point in stating that "to create a true sense of trust between the governed and the government, our nation's leader must be above the politics of the day, beholden to no special interest group, and free to do what must be done for the good of all Americans, not just the party he or she leads."

This makes sense to me.

Today there are some 28 countries with operational royalty. Of those, 25 are constitutional or parliamentary monarchies. The three that aren't--Oman, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland, all absolute regimes--are admittedly not your best example of effective and interest-free government, but the others, including Belgium, Denmark, Morocco, Spain, Japan, the U.K., and Sweden, have learned that it's not a bad thing to have your country represented by entities that are neither Wig nor Tory, Republican nor Democrat, Socialists nor Reformists. In modern times, the whole concept of monarchy is based on having an entity of long-standing and respectable history that will act or react intelligently for the well-being of the country involved.

I'm not fooling myself--the US will not turn into a monarchy of any kind in the near or far future. But think of it: what if there were a royal family here to take care of all the ceremonial stuff, the handshaking and medal-giving and baby-kissing and spelling bee officiating? What if the President and VP could really attend to the nation’s business instead of spending thirty percent of their time at egg-rolling ceremonies and concerts by deaf musicians?  Wouldn’t that serve the nation well? And what if, instead of completely changing everything and almost everyone every four or eight years, we had one entity we trusted and listened to, one individual (or a family of individuals) who could provide a thread of constancy to the business of ruling. Wouldn’t that be useful?  There are lessons worth learning from the kings and queens of history. Some were damned good leaders, the type of folks we need around now.

Back to my royalist flag for a moment. So what happened is that at first I hung the Fleur de Lys flag upside down above my house, which I suppose would have made me an anti-royalist. It wasn't my fault.... It was dark and cold, my fingers were numb.

The next day, when it was flying properly, my next door neighbor on the right side knocked on my kitchen door. He's a stocky man from the former Soviet bloc who solemnly detests his other neighbor, who is from the same former SB country. He asked if I was not taking chances flying this odd flag; someone had told him such a thing was illegal and he didn't want to hazard having the secret flag police maybe making a mistake and knocking on his door. I reassured him that it was perfectly OK but he seemed less than convinced. I caught his wife, who is a dentist, and his two Goths kids starring upwards with fear in their eyes. I spent some time on the Internet looking for the Virginia law that might apply, but it's hard to find a law permitting something since most laws are designed to be preventative.

A few days later there were men cutting down the bamboo in the vacant lot behind my home. The stuff, it seems, has invaded nearby storm drains and caused minor flooding. My neighbor came over again and asked if I was sure about the law because the guys with the chainsaws cutting down the brush were obviously setting up a listening/viewing post, and this made him very uncomfortable. He asked politely whether I would consider taking the flag down and hoisting the Stars and Stripes. I demurred. Time passed. The men with chainsaws have gone away. The secret flag police has not swooped down upon us, which tempts me to believe there may be more royalists in positions of power than we know.  Is this a great country or what?

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