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As expected, Americans are expressing their deep sense of loss for Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, as well as sending our good wishes (regardless of how we felt about his politics) for the ascendance of Prince Charles as King Charles III. But I couldn’t help feeling that our participation and engagement with all these traditions, history, and formality were somehow different this time around. In the past, we have been intrigued and excited about events in the United Kingdom, ranging from the blessings of weddings, to the tragedy of Diana’s death and the controversy over misguided royals. With the loss of the Queen, however, I believe our reaction reveals a deep sense of loss, not only for the Queen, but for the losses we ourselves have sustained over the last several years in our own country.
Think about it. We have had people determined to destroy the historic symbols of our country, whether they have characterized us as racists while disregarding our determination to transcend our commitment to slavery. The Constitution, monuments, statues, and schools that represented our admiration for, and commitment to, the founding of our country have been desecrated and condemned. Our strength and power, which have always been important forces for the world, have been weakened and disregarded. We no longer have a history to be proud of, a tradition of freedom to celebrate, and a foundation to point to; these have all been criticized and downgraded in the eyes of the political Left. And we watch, perhaps with envy, the love and affection the people of the U.K. have for their departed Queen and their country.
Many people here are beginning to realize, however, that without all these traditions and symbols, there is little left to build on in America. We have been set adrift, with no heroes or leaders to light our way and to inspire us for the future. In one sense, too, we were born of the Brits, and we set forth to found our own way and future. Yet in another sense, we are kindred spirits, who are grounded in Western values and traditions, and no separation between our countries can deny that truth. At some level, I think Americans poignantly and likely subconsciously embrace that relationship, because it is the only tenuous connection that reminds us of our remarkable and laudatory past.
We are struggling to understand our own identity, and are grateful to the UK, which reminds us that we share similar beliefs and values, and that perhaps, with them to represent the possible, we can once again strive to re-establish our future.
Long live the King.
Long live America.Published in