Friday, June 15, 2012

They Might Have Something Here (Constitutional Monarchy)

    So I have come to some conclusions around the Jubilee.  There exists among most people in the UK a deep-seated respect and affection for the Queen.  This is a fact, a stubborn thing, a truth to be accepted.  This is also something completely foreign to me.  And unfortunately sometimes quite revolting.  But if I can get past my American exceptionalism for a moment, it is interesting to observe.  The relationship of the citizen to the state is different here, because the state has two components: the monarch and the government.  Each person has a relationship with both.  To me it seems like a steady affection and respect for the royals somehow provides a constant distraction from the other component of the State, the government.  So basically you have this reminder of the State in the Queen, who represents the best of Britain, the rich history and excellence in the arts and sciences, and then you have the actual government, which is a slave to banks and frankly a cesspool. 

And yet I willingly say the relationship of a UK citizen to the state is better than the relationship of the US citizen to the state.  Because in truth, the poor citizen of the United States has had all choice, all nuance, all complexity robbed from them and they have only the Orwellian Binary Choice:  Republican or Democrat.  In the meantime, the overlap between the binary is 90%: deference to the banks, commitment to defense spending, the lobbyist system - a commitment to serving money and not citizens.  Both parties happily agree that international law does not apply to extraterritorial US actions and both parties are happy for the President to order the killing of our enemies and mayors to order the beatings of protestors.  These are disgusting violations of the rule of law.  but the binary choice masks them and they become invisible, silent nonissues in every presidential debate.    

I think people in the US are just starting to wake up to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, this situation does not serve the ideals of democracy and justice we founded these United States to achieve.  At least some of the people think this.   Many people I love and respect are still so much in the war of Democrats and Republicans that they don't see how rotten the entire system has become. Believe me in Washington I was in that war.  When Clinton was elected, the Republicans waged an unceasing and inventive war on his presidency which included, among other things, Whitewater, the Vince Foster suicide, the Paula Jones suit, the impeachment trial, the Lewinsky wiretap - tawdry awfulness dug up by spirited zealots who saw the only way to righteousness was to destroy the enemy.  What an awful waste of time it all was, what an awful waste of time and talent.  The war between the Democrats and the Republicans still is.  I know they try to suck you in and get your money by pressing your buttons,  I get those Emily's List emails myself but please resist.  Getting sucked into that noise is just a block to your enlightenment. 

It actually is great in the UK that members of parliament are determined not to turn elections into economic exchanges.  It's one good thing.  In the UK they very nobly wait to be elected and then sell the power of the state to corporations to ensure their personal wealth.  That's the European way.  But there will be no holograms in the coverage. 

The UK and US have many of the same hurdles to clear between where they are now and the free democratic state we all wish them to be, and actually, I dream that the UK shows the US the way.  I feel like the US is stuck in this absolute quagmire of religion and the Orwellian Binary Choice, but the UK is not.  Maybe their affection and respect for the Queen triangulates and grounds their feelings about God and Government. 

I see these things and I hope.  I hope that all the acuity and greatness that the people of the UK have in their arts and education could be wielded to solve the great problems of our time.  I hope for this constitutional monarchy and my constitutional democracy.  I still have hope. 


   

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