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God Save the Monarchy?

The patriotism is palpable in Great Britain, as the nation is hyping up to celebrate its beloved Queen Elizabeth II. The occasion marks her diamond jubilee of sixty years on the throne, a celebration distinguished by proudly flown Union Jacks and tacky souvenirs. But the festivities have also awakened old anti-monarchial sentiment once again. In a decade touched by rebellion and overthrow of century-old governments, many have begun to question the very necessity of a monarchy in the United Kingdom. Has it become an obsolete institution, a nominal governing body, one characterized by pomp and circumstance de trop? The current British monarchy is ineffective, secretive, and is at loss in a world where the peoples’ voice is top priority.
What is the monarch? Up to this point in history, they are often seen only through images and propaganda. Rarely do they make public speeches, hold press conferences, or host a town hall. Indeed, we see the Queen when she attends church services, hosts a a foreign president, or opens Parliament every two years. That’s pretty much it. While it may seem trivial, the fact of the matter is that such sovereigns are aloof, removed from 99% of their subjects. Born and raised in royalty, that queens and kings should have some deep understanding of what the 99% is going through is doubtful. Even though the visible notion of separation between aristocracy and everything else was erased long ago, there is a barrier between the royals and the population. The leader of any nation should be ingrained within their constituents, living and breathing among them, visible to the public eye, and making a bold and prominent appearance regularly. To date, the Queen has not been able arouse any modicum of motivation. Author Graham Smith put it best when he said, “After 60 years who can quote a famous speech or point to a moment of crisis or celebration when the queen offered leadership and inspiration?” [1]
Because of this rather closeted approach to governance, the machinations of Queen Elizabeth and Co. are shrouded in secrecy. It is impossible to discern how the Queen is executing her duties beyond the success of creating a popular national image. Buckingham Palace is not entitled to disclose every move and action taken. Moreover, it’s not as if she was given the job based on her merits and knowledge. Therein exists the issue of a hereditary government. Often times the largest and most important position are granted to family members and passed down through the generations. Any problems in the higher echelons of government become familial matters, withheld from the eyes of the nation. How can a country be run successfully and efficiently when the leadership, diplomacy, and capability are not taken into account? In Great Britain, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Many argue that if the monarchy were abolished, tourism levels would drop. But ultimately, tourists do not flock to Great Britain to simply gawk at Buckingham Palace. After all, there is an endless variety of museums, parks, and natural sites. England is proud to boast figures such as Darwin, Dickens, Shakespeare, Churchill, and the Beatles. It is the history that attracts people, says Smith- “Our history is certainly an attraction -- and the great thing about our history is that it will always be there regardless of what we do in the future.” [2] It’s important to recognize that Great Britain is more than crowns and palaces, but a country with a rich history and a future with great potential.

The monarchy has existed for centuries. But times are changing, and so are peoples’ perspectives. For a structure that absorbs so much, it promises nothing more than the royal monotony. Democratic reform is healthy not only for the prosperity of England, but also in giving the citizens a hand in deciding their futures and bringing them closer with the people they choose to be leaders. In the words of the British band Coldplay, “Time’s a loaded gun,” and in the spirit of the century, we must move England past this political fossil towards a brighter future.


Sources—
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/30/world/europe/uk-jubilee-republicans/index.html



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