Usually I plan ahead of what to write and although I have topics selected for the upcoming week, I really don’t have too much to discuss today. So please forgive me if I am a bit redundant today and select a theme I have already discussed. Honestly, I am weary. Tomorrow we will end a long and grueling political process of electing our next President, or re-electing the current President. This process is way too long and has costs billions of dollars. The process began well over a year ago and frankly I am mentally exhausted from all the campaign adds, debates, name calling and infighting. I am over saturated with politics and will be grateful to see all of this come to an end.
All of this political squabbling and election saturation lead me to thinking about my love and appreciation for constitutional monarchies. One of the things I like about the British system (and other European political systems) is that the Head of State is hereditary and the time to elect their leaders is not a long and drawn out process. I am not saying these states do not have partisan political battles. What I am saying is that I am envious of those states where a monarch has a greater chance of uniting a state more than a politician from a political party. As I contemplated constitutional monarchies I reflected on how in the US one specific political party seems to feel it has cornered the market on patriotism. Following this train of thought, I began to think of how patriotic can be expressed and the opportunities the pageantry and splendor attached to monarchies provides a unified outlet for expressing patriotism.
Britain is the only European monarchy left where the monarch is crowned in an elaborate and centuries old ceremony. All the other monarchies of Europe have done away with coronations and have developed a similar ceremony to our inauguration of a President. Most monarchies have a ceremony for when a new monarch succeeds to the crown. This basic ceremony is when they swear an oath to uphold the constitution. Crowns are not worn but are often displayed for symbolic purposes. I do understand the need to do that and actually admire those monarchies which have inauguration ceremonies, although I am sad to see coronations regulated to the past. A coronation ceremony can be a festive atmosphere and what I saw during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations this past summer, along with the Olympic celebrations, is that these festive celebrations can serve to unite people under a broad umbrella of national pride and patriotism with the monarch serving as the focal point of that national pride.
Too often US Presidents are not the focal point of national pride and unity given the cutthroat nature of partisan politics. So this day before our election I give three cheers to countries that had the good fortune or foresight of preserving their monarchies! This blogger would like to honor today, HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; HM King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain: HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia of Sweden; HM Queen Margarethe II and HRH The prince Consort of Denmark; HM King Albert II and HM Queen Paola of the Belgians; HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja of Norway, HRH Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg; HSH Prince Hans-Adam II and HSH Princess Marie of Liechtenstein; HSH Prince Albert II and HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco.