Though I've lived in the American Midwest for almost 11 years, I am still surprised by how batty many Americans are when it comes to the Royal Family. I know several who got up at unholy-o'clock to watch the wedding of Kate and William, and Princess Di is still revered nationwide, almost on the level of King Arthur himself (or "JFK," as he's known outside of Republican circles). So it's no surprise that my fellow Kansans have gone bonkers over the Jubilee. The reasons? The Royal Family is something completely outside the norm for Americans, they're fascinated by the pageantry and pomp and, truth be told, most are Anglophiles who love all things British or pseudo-British, from Downton Abbey, to Sherlock, to the Mini Cooper.
No such consensus among my countrymen, it seems. A confrontational relative recently asked me the classic doubter's question: "Why do we need the monarchy?" and then listed the standard grievances against our first family: a drain on taxpayers' already drained incomes, an anachronism, a symbol of class division and undeserved privilege. As a retort, I started to ramble on about the Windsors symbolizing permanence and stability, but when I heard myself, I realised this was a stock response with little feeling behind it. That evening, I pondered what the monarchy really means to me. I came up with a single word: sovereignty.
Ours is an independent nation and, while Parliament runs it, the Queen is the embodiment of this independence. In the United States, the President is the head of state, but, rather than our Prime Minister holding an equivalent position, it is Her Majesty. Indeed, as MEP Daniel Hannan has written, her image on our coinage is of great significance - every time we use pounds in a transaction we are affirming that we are a sovereign country, rather than one that has deferred to the starry-eyed crest emblazoned across the Euro.
Beyond its currency value, the pound is a talisman that demonstrates our defiance of the ever far-reaching tentacles of the EU's power. Brussels meddles in our affairs in so many ways, from the significant - such as wiping out government cuts with the significant increase to the EU budget - to the petty. Each of these measures is a manifestation that the British people did not endorse (or, indeed, have the chance to endorse or reject) at the ballot box. After all, with the example of Ireland clear in our minds, we see that when a country votes against EU policy the first time, the EU 'parliament' just forces another vote with millions of pounds pumped into the "Yes" campaign, until the desired result is achieved. And then it's reinforced, following similar big money campaigning for the "Yay" side and selling out from politicians in almost every political group.
Meanwhile, EU leaders such as Jose Manuel Barroso continue to demonstrate their contempt for democracy and Angela Merkel has stated her willingness to give away Germany's sovereignty, as she verbally bullies Greece into accepting the EU paymaster's punitive bailout terms. Apparently the concepts of irony and hypocrisy are lost on her, given the free-spending and colossal waste of the EU itself and Germany's flushing of billions upon billions down the EU plug hole.
As we celebrate the life and reign of our Queen, we have the chance to avoid the economic subjugation of the Greeks. The chance to protect the legacy of our past and secure an independent and prosperous future. And what must we do? Resist tyrannical policies such as the EU transaction tax (i.e. the 'let's bleed the City of London dry and redistribute its wealth tax'). Hold the referendum that each of our major political parties promised, and of which David Cameron seems so scared. Refuse to allow those in the corridors of power to give away the liberty that our fathers and grandfathers risked their lives to protect. Are we in danger from an armed foe like they faced? Of course not. But we do face a supra-national body that wishes to impose its demands on us, without giving us the choice to say yes or no at the ballot box. Is this not, in essence, the same country that Queen Elizabeth swore to rule and protect 60 years ago? If it is, then why do we not stand up and say a definitive "no" to EU encroachment?
One thing is for certain: the same Americans who revere our monarchy value their democratic rights even more, and would never permit an external party like the EU to impose its will upon them. Too many Brits dismiss our transatlantic cousins' flag waving as obnoxious nationalism. They are mistaken. Patriotism, loyalty to ones' country and a commitment to the ideals of liberty, freedom and self-determination are alive and well in America. Those beliefs were born in Britain, and I hope we shall continue to hold them dear for another 60 years and beyond, preventing our Queen from becoming the symbol of a nation that threw away everything positive that she stands for.
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