It’s Weird if You Love The Royal Family but Hate Trump
by Terence James
It says a great deal that Facebook, pressured from all angles to add a dislike function to status updates, instead installed a range of reactions which includes Wow, Angry and Upset.
On the other hand, it’s a depressing indictment of the emotional illiteracy of our times where shock, anger, and misery are not only de facto reactions to posts – but also that they are often the most fitting.
The rise of post-truth, a means of inundating us with scandal and outrage until we simply cannot be bothered to put up a fight, has been a long time coming. It’s no scandal that politicians lie, scheme, maneuver and all the rest (come on, Machiavelli figured that out), but never have the political class been so brazen about it. It feels like a rhetorical and ethical stranglehold.
It’s easy to pin this socio-political rot on the United States of America, as many already do, and, given the bloated pageant that the US Election is, it’s tempting to think of the whole thing as a complete failure.
But take it from me, my American chums. It isn’t. Far from it.
The international prestige of America is under attack, I’ll admit. It has been since an oil baron in disguise stuttered and stammered his way across the Middle East and called everyone else a wimp for not doing so, and this before your current premier, and his catalogue of crimes and obscenities. But, if the Land of the Free™ sucks so hard, why is it doing so well, in the grand scheme of things?
Never forget – the US Economy received body blow after body blow during the biggest economic disaster of all time, yet still swings from the highest branch on the world’s money tree. Despite the odious rhetoric about One Nation Under God, there is a religious – and irreligious – plurality among the population, unmatched anywhere else in the world. The First Amendment guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, while musicians are sentenced to prison in my own simply for performing songs. The electorate may be thick, the electoral colleges need burning to the ground and the ashes scattered to the four winds, but there is one key advantage this system has, which many, many others don’t: You can vote, and have it count.
Which leads me to the key point of this article. The White House has received such a bruising, and for such a long time, that many people – the type who read the National Enquirer and actually-no-really-seriously watch E! and TMZ – look to the British Royal Family as an exemplar of rulership. Quiet, dignified, regal, well-mannered, charming, it’s like a fairytale wedding, isn’t it…?
No. It is not.
I am that very rare thing in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – I’m a Republican (not the American kind).
I regard myself as a citizen, not a subject. Kings ought to have nothing to do with Statecraft, however “impartial” they make themselves out to be. As long as the Monarch is the head of the state church, we will never have true religious tolerance and acceptance when the state favors one religion over the other. I want no Monarch, nor do I want their idiotic, most likely inbred family, anywhere near the halls of power. And yes, my taxes pay for some heinous fashion crimes while schools, hospitals, police stations and libraries are closing. In the words of the imperishable Thomas Paine:
For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and tho’ himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an ASS FOR A LION.
And I’ll give you some examples as to why this grim institution should be regarded with ridicule and contempt.
Rest assured, fellow traveller…. these happened.
WORSE THAN REALITY TV
One of the most common criticisms – and, for my high-powered opinion, the most toothless – of the trust-fund child in the Oval Office is that he was on reality TV. I mean, that’s the lowest-hanging, worm-ridden fruit from a rotten branch and people keep grabbing it again and again. No member of ‘Er Majesty’s household would do anything like THAT, would they? Put themselves through humiliating trials on television just to garner public sympathy? Impossible…
Well, while it may not have been as cut-throat or as arch as The Apprentice, The Grand Knockout Tournament, screened nationally in 1987, is just…well…
Takeshi’s Castle, Ninja Warrior, American Gladiators and The Benny Hill Show, featuring actual members of the Windsor family, and a cast of celebrities featuring (amongst many others) John Cleese, Meat Loaf, Tom Jones, Christopher Reeve, Sheena Easton, and John Travolta.
I wish I had invented this. Then again, no one would have believed me if I had.
And here is just the tip of the iceberg.
Since at least the days of JFK, the stench of illicit sex has hovered around the Presidency. The incumbent’s sex life seems to be a new low by every measure, unbelievable, distraught and horrifying as it is.
And yet, there is something sordid and simpering about royal breakups which is wholly unique.
Although, once upon a time, divorce could result in the banishment of even the most popular Monarch (more on this later), more contemporary royals are not so wary. All the tension which had been clear throughout the 1980s came to a head in 1992, a year that would prove momentously shit for the House of Hanover.
Three of Brenda’s children got divorced within the same 365 days: Prince Andrew (yes, that one) got divorced from his fashion-oblivious wife Sarah Ferguson, Princess Anne from Captain Mark Phillips (a man so pathetic that he received a derogatory nickname from Prince “I-Talk-To-My-Plants” Charles) and, most famously, Charles and Diana.
Not only was their divorce the end of a series of scandals involving the heir apparent, but every aspect was there for all to see. I won’t go over everything, but reading the Squidgygate transcript and the details of Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles gives one a sense of futility and annoyance at the whole soap opera racket.
NOT RACIST, BUT…
The disgraceful methods of defending the indefensible that The Right has developed over the past decade amounts to little more than snobbishness in disguise. The sneer one can hear with such phrases as virtue signaling causes a palpable wretch in even the most hardened person. Fortunately for us all, here’s one case study where the accusation – thrown around with abandon by the right wing, that The Left calls everything they dislike “Nazi” – is quite appropriate.
Even though I am duty bound to recognize that our current Sovereign served with quiet resolve and distinction during the Second World War, the British aristocracy was vehemently pro-Fascist before the war. When gathering evidence for the Nuremberg trials, Airey Neave, then an army intelligence officer, was given a list of names by a tearful Joachim von Ribbentrop. They were a list of character witnesses, made up, “chiefly of the British Aristocracy.”
I said that we would come back to the subject of Monarchs and divorce later in this article. Some of you will already know who I am talking about. Edward VIII – a King for less than a year, forced out largely because of his marriage to American divorcée and walking disaster Wallis Simpson – settled into his life out of office. This involved shaking a lot of hands in Europe, including those of a certain Adolf Hitler. He then came back and taught his infant niece how to give a certain salute.
Thing is, the euphemistically-named gaffe culture doesn’t stop here. Prince Phillip has a legendary track record of saying the most repugnant things and Prince Harry – currently mired in a non-scandal of his own – loved a bit of fancy dress.
Americans, I know it seems that things can’t get worse.
Your President is a travesty. You pay taxes to fund his short-sighted business ventures. He does not do anything of any real importance. He continues to embarrass the nation with his stupidity and zero-calorie speeches.
But rest assured – he is not your king, and, to most of you reading, he is not even your President. At least you can get rid of him. You should.
In closing, then, remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”