Lighten Up About The Queen, Or Don't Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out
The email queue has been overflowing ever since I wrote Sunday about the unseemly and downright unAmerican spectacle of seeing Queen Elizabeth greeted by fawning Americans who went so far as to bow and curtsy to the monarch.
Herewith a sample of your vehement disagreement and unusually enthusiastic support:
It's called humility.
Although you might find the British Monarchy an anachronism, courtesy costs very little. In his day, Thomas Paine of this parish, was considered a traitor, but that does not stop our local brewery in Lewes, where Paine lived and gave many speeches, from producing a Thomas Paine Beer around 4th July to celebrate his contribution to the evolution of the United States of America. We have no compunction in celebrating our common heritage, even where it involved treachery. Likewise your distaste for the Crown should be mellowed by its' context your country's history.
No of course Americans have no duty to bow or curtsy to the Queen but she is a lady of great dignity and to show discourtesy to her is surely not the behaviour of a gentleman, whatever his views on The Crown.
Beware of little old ladies in big hats.
Off with your head Mr Fisher.
I was completely stunned by your article in the Sunday, 6 May edition at the top of the Metro page. Far and away the best piece of observational journalism I have ever read, it made me proud to be a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, where we dont bow our heads to anyone. It also made me thankful that, as a legal resident of another state, I do not have to pay taxes to a state in which its House of Delegates Majority Leader decides to demean not only the taxpayers of his state but his own humanity and honor as a human being by bowing to a foreign dignitary. It was very impressive on your part to remind us about Tom Paine and the American Revolution, something that seems, to many, to be too old-fashioned to be significantly remembered. Thanks for making my $1.50 go farther than it usually does on a Sunday.
I have a different take on the deference being shown Queen
Elizabeth during her visit here. Perhaps her presence reminds us of an
earlier time when good manners and respect for others were valued. Here
is a woman who by all accounts put duty before personal gratification.
What a concept! Today our society is all about personal gratification ~
exemplified by our greedy 'leaders' both political and commercial.
Elizabeth radiates refinement in the midst of a society that has become
coarsened. She has no political or economic power ~ only the power of
her personal presence which symbolizes a civility we have lost. She
certainly is no threat to the American republic.
The vast majority of people in England, and I would add, a substantial majority of people in the United Kingdom, would, I believe, vote to preserve the Crown, if it came to a vote. The Queen is highly respected and admired in this country not only for the rich cultural and political heritage and tradition which she represents, but for her personal integrity, intelligence, charm and tireless efforts in serving the interests of Britain, at home or abroad, in times of war and crises as well as in times of peace. The Queen is not a mere celebrity or figurehead, at least in this country. For celebrities we turn to America.
We're confused about who we are and how we came to be here.
Have we been cowed to a point where aristocracy looks attractive? A
French-Canadian friend of mine told me his perception of Americans is they
are afraid. They are afraid of everything. He said he views US news as an
unreal action drama. Everything is violent and destructive and it feeds the
"Here we lock our doors when we leave home," he said. "You lock your doors
when you are inside the house!"
But of course, we do. That is a gap in our world views and perception of
Perhaps it is encouraging that we can still muster up suitable respect for a
"little old lady who doesn't say much" instead of a chasing down befuddled,
confused performers trapped in their own publicity machine.
And the question is it celebrity for celebrity's sake or symptomatic of a
country desperately searching for connection and belonging in a world
increasingly hostile to us? Who are we? How *did* we get to here today?
Even if one believed that the queen were an exemplary individual, the "bowing and scraping" would be inappropriate for an American.
What should be our mode of behavior in her presence? She is a human
being, a visitor to our shores and the official head of a state with
which we are closely allied, all of which entitles her to our courtesy,
our smiles and our friendly welcome -- but no more. This was clearly
demonstrated from the very start of our republic. George Washington
refused royal-sounding titles. Later, after his Vice President, John
Adams, and his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, were sworn in as
the second President and Vice President respectively, Washington
insisted that they should precede him outdoors to meet the public,
emphasizing that he had only "borrowed" the presidency, and that there
was no more honorable title than simply "citizen". For us to forget the
lessons of our founders is to make light of the price paid by so many of
our ancestors to win, and to preserve, our liberty as individuals.
Except in the presence of our Maker, Americans should not bow our heads,
but hold them high.
When John Adams was appointed the Ambassador to England in 1785 he reported "the Door was shut and I was left with his Majesty and the Secretary of State alone. I made the three Reverences, one at the Door, another about half Way & the third before the Presence, according to the Usage established at this and all the Northern Courts of Europe"
As he left he exited the King's Closet, stepping backward, according to custom, and making a final reverence at the door.
I cannot think of any founding father that was more anti-English than John Adams. But I assume that the term "reverences (his words) mean he bowed to the King who America had fought for her independence. Maybe he just had better manners than the people of the 21st century.
Your obedient servant,
William F. Chaney
You are absolutely, unequivocally correct. This monarchy worship is unnerving and is one more American conservative behavior fluke that is not based in reality, necessity or even common sense. I am in fact indignant over the whole thing. I grew up in Glenside, Pennsylvania, directly outside of Philadelphia. Just before I was born in 1952, construction workers clearing land for a road widening project found the bodies of about a dozen dead Indians and American Continental soldiers on Jenkintown Road in Glenside. A VFW stands on that site now. It appears that the soldiers and British allied Indians got into a firefight on what is now that road and what was then a deer path early in the Revolutionary War. It is referred to as the Battle of Edgehill but was actually an unnamed skirmish. The bodies were delivered to the U.S. Army and these men were buried with honor. I am not exactly sure what happened to the Indians. There is a plaque in front of that VFW to this day honoring those men who fought British interests so that we could have our own interests paramount here North America, not Britains. Growing up in Philadelphia, I have always held these men in high regard. I do not understand the whole British Monarchy love-fest thing that goes on here, especially in the South. It is embarrassing and disrespectful to American values and especially to men like those who died for all of us at the Battle of Edgehill. Tom Barnes
By Marc Fisher |
May 8, 2007; 2:15 PM ET
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