Why are we Americans, whose ancestors fought and died, twice, to rid ourselves of the British, so very fascinated by the so called royalty across the big pond? It has been argued by some that people need monarchy as an organizing force for society and to provide “social cohesion” without violent imposition. Well, here is my controlled, measured response to that sort of nonsense:
Monarchy is necessary to keep order in the "upper classes", not among the beer swilling mob. It assists those who would by ambition lurch upward toward power and control to know that they have limits of centuries standing. In so doing, it helps them to be reconciled to their fate as a factum factorum to the King or Queen, never to be the main event.
Americans are gaga over the monarchy because they know next to nothing of their own, our own, history. What was the war against England about? Taxes on tea? What does that have to do with the lovely people yet now being wed? The history we studied in the early grades passed before our eyes and brains like fairy tales of an unknown world By the time most of us reached high school, we had marked off history itself as a subject to be avoided. .
Our brave ancestors fought for independence and a sizable number of Americans, perhaps close to a majority if polled, would gladly take the monarchy back. Why? It’s so glamorous. It’s so fun. It’s so foreign and so unlike the dreary freeways lined with car dealerships, pawn shops, fast food dispensaries, beer joints, bail bondsmen and tattoo parlors that speckle much of the American landscape like blisters on a burn victim's face.
Even when American students can be found who were awake in droning history classes, many do not understand our national story. Those who go on to college often take little more than a single course or two in history to correct the mythologies and lies required by public schools in the name of leveled, smoothed over education in the first 12 years. My own guess is that most college graduates would be unlikely to pass 10th grade American history without a review course. It is not that people don’t comprehend the basic story of the founding of America, it just doesn’t mean that much to them and has not generally been fleshed out to vivid details that would make it meaningful. The information passed before them in school, but it wasn’t taken in to their deepest values.
What about social cohesion, one of the supposed benefits of royalty? The Brits should know something about that, right? Too easily or falsely obtained, it is worth nothing. Less than nothing: it corrupts the soul who possesses it and deadens the impulse to self discovery and the search for a larger, better truth than that inherited in the same manner as on oil slick on the ocean. I could construct a vital argument that the rot in England from within comes in no small part from its formal, lingering class system with imagined royalty at the top. In rigid class systems, people are told what they are and what they are to be and most don’t try to fight the existing order.
Social cohesion in America derives from our shared national heritage, the grandeur of our democratic experiment that still manages to shine through like a beacon in spite of our dramatic failings. It comes from a deep knowledge of the sacrifices our ancestors made to gain every inch of democracy and self government will now enjoy and, likewise, from appreciation for the labor and dedication of the generations which preceded our own. It derives from a belief in our common, better future as self governing, evolving people who can allow no petty politician or grand pretender King to get in our way. In this social cohesion, there is no room for Kings or Queens who would lead an intelligent, alert and engaged population. Out, or we will take you out yet again.
PS: I thought Kate Middleton was smashing.
But, please remember this: the so called royal family is not royalty when they come here for a visit nor should they be referred to as royalty in our media. They are British royalty, not American royalty, okay?
Doug Terry 4.29.11