The British Monarchy & the Royal Trumps Remind Us All of the Importance of Democracy

Thom plus logo The world is getting tired of overdressed cranky billionaire families

Americans of pretty much every race, class and political persuasion are recoiling in disgust that the British royal family would even seriously discuss refusing to give security protection or a title to Harry's and Megan's son because of concerns about "how dark" his skin might be.

Since our country allied with Great Britain in World Wars I and II, Americans have generally held a favorable view of the British Royals. Books, magazines and even TV shows about them are perennial and predictable best-sellers.

But America just finished a four-year experience with a would-be royal family of our own, which is, no doubt, coloring our perspective on the billionaire Windsors "across the pond."

Trump not only bragged about his "great genes" (the essential quality of a genetically-based royalty), but installed his utterly unqualified daughter, son-in-law and sons in actual and advisory government and campaign positions as if they were princes and a princess.

And then he tried to overthrow the democratic government of our country, which was birthed in defiance of royalty, so he could establish his own line of royal succession, with Prince Junior thinking out loud about the Senate in North Carolina and Princess Ivanka musing about storming Florida and taking Marco Rubio's scalp.

From the founding of our republic, conservatives have had a love affair with the idea of royalty. Before the Revolution, we called them Loyalists and Tories. They've never quite trusted "mob rule," also known as democracy.

And now they're piling on Meghan Markle, whether to defend the British royal family or to attack her because she's Black…or both.

Hating on Megan is happening all over Fox News, from their news shows to their opinion shows, as Don Lemon laid out in detail on CNN last night.

An article at the rightwing site Townhall, reported by TheRighting.com, notes: "Like a good woke American, Ms. Markel charged that the royal family was bothered by the skin color of her son. When you don't have a legitimate grievance, you always play the race card… For Prince Harry to allow his wife to make such a scandalous charge without naming names is cowardly. But it's also very telling – I suspect the Mrs. was spewing fake news."

Over at the conservative NationalPulse, TheRighting.com reports their headline is, "The Many Lies Of Megan and Harry," and the headline at NewsBusters is, "Morning Network News Shows Spent 91 Minutes Fawning Over Harry and Megan."

Generally, though, these conservative freak-outs about the first Black member of the British royal family are outliers across American public opinion.

And it appears that Americans aren't the only ones who have lost patience with self-absorbed, narcissistic, absurdly wealthy "royal" families: witness British television yesterday dropping Piers Morgan - with widespread public support - after his relentless attacks on Megan Markel and his support for the institution of British royalty.

Back in 1651, when Thomas Hobbes published his book Leviathan that arguably kicked off the Enlightenment, there was a serious debate about whether democracy was even possible, given the stability and permanence of royalty in Europe.

Hobbes argued that people should be able to choose their own leaders and government, although he continued to believe that the "original state" of humankind was essentially evil and therefore, lacking "the iron fist of church or state," we would revert to our original nature and life would become "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

By 1689, when John Locke published his Two Treatises of Government, the idea of democratic self-governance was beginning to take hold. Locke argued that all men should be entitled to "life, liberty and property."

Almost 100 years later, Thomas Jefferson would borrow the phrase but substitute "happiness" for "property," as by that time property rights were fairly well established across Europe and certainly in North America.

Although democracies across the world are under assault today by international oligarchs and theocrats, there's little doubt that democracy is a viable form of government. Which is why, when Donald Trump attempted to overthrow ours, the entire world stood aghast.

Many European countries have done away with their monarchies altogether, and others have kept them as, essentially, ornamental or decorative features of their tourism landscapes.

While America girds herself to prevent a future Trump wannabe from overthrowing our democracy and installing him- or herself as an anti-democratic pseudo-populist monarch, a debate is again breaking out in the UK over the role of the British monarchy.

Stripping the British royal family of their power over government and simply letting them live as fancy, ornamental billionaires like many other European royal families is, of course, something for the British to decide.

But watching the spectacle from this side of the Atlantic, the drama should remind us all once again of how important the idea of rule by We the People actually is.

-Thom

Originally posted on hartmannreport.com.

Comments

Paulacci The Clown's picture
Paulacci The Clown 28 weeks 1 day ago
#1

Time to shut down the royal palace permanently. Why do the British people suffer under this ignominious oligarchical parade of fools? The people are in poverty, yet Piers Morgan could care less? The Queen needs to either dress down or become a contestant on RuPaul's drag race.....so out of touch with humanity, she channels Sean Inshannity!

djgilbert 28 weeks 1 day ago
#2

Monarchies represent a continuation of a feudal era but are with us in much more than the British Royal Family. Several Western European countries have monarchies and layers of royalty such as dukes/duchesses, counts/countesses, etc. Interestingly enough, many of the former Soviet states have more completely shed royalty than the Western European democracies.

We should not forget that the workplace in all of these countries is by and large a feudal state. The operative term is CXX, starting with CEOs. Perhaps we should focus on democracy in the workplace rather than being distracted by interviews of royals.

In terms of the U.S. system, the modern scope and scale of government is far beyond the neo-monarchy of an elected president set up in the U.S. Constitution. A healthy dose of federalism is perhaps the only hope of saving the American experiment from fascism.

There are successful models such as the Swiss Federal Council, with an annually revolving presidency and members serving as liaisons to the major federal administrative departments. Using a regional approach of electing a non-partisan "Federal Council of the United States" by region for single terms may be worth considering. Members could be elected in a primary, top-two non-partisan election with a balanced proportional model.

In such a model, the Senate may not be needed. One State, Nebraska, managed to abandon the bi-cameral legislature so it is possible. Nebraska legislators are elected in a primary, top-two final election system to a non-partisan legislature. The legislature functions without political parties in committee assignments and seniority.

DrRichard 28 weeks 1 day ago
#3

Democracy works in some countries, not others, not now anyway. Tribalism, historical feuds, no tradition of sharing power...all those work against it in many states. India found a way to make this more-or-less work, elsewhere it quickly devolved into dictatorships or wars. Anyway, western Europe found ways to integrate monarchies into parliamentary systems and in Britain the royals do bring in some money with tourism and the like. The deeply bureaucratic state that is Britain would survive without a "living flag", but traditions do run deep there. It will be interesting to see if after Elizabeth dies some countries leave the Commonwealth, and if Scotland uses this as a time to pull out and rejoin the EU. (With the centennial of the establishment of Northern Ireland coming up that place could get interesting too.)

DrRichard 28 weeks 1 day ago
#4

djgilbert, I agree about Nebraska. What might work in the US is a non-partisian system of apportioning Congressional districts in each state, with (the Nebraska and Maine systems) electoral votes going to whichever candidate gets a pluraity of each district, plus the 2 senate electroral votes going to whoever gets a pluairty in the whole state. That would not abolish the electoral college but would make it more responsive to popular votes. Not likely to happen though....

djgilbert 28 weeks 1 day ago
#5

DrRichard,

The history of the Nebraska unicameral offers some lessons. The change took place in 1934 during the Depression. A chief proponent, Republican Senator George W. Norris, criticized the bi-cameral system as inconsistent with ideals of American equality. He is quoted as saying,

"The constitutions of our various states are built upon the idea that there is but one class. If this be true, there is no sense or reason in having the same thing done twice, especially if it is to be done by two bodies of men elected in the same way and having the same jurisdiction."

There was also a clean government backdrop. The lore of the bi-cameral in Nebraska is that each chamber was controlled by one of the two railroads. Norris would have known this well as he came from a city very influenced by one of the railroads, including hosting the railroad's orchestra. The circumstances also hint at concerns over corruption with the help of political parties. The move to a non-partisan unicameral was not an accident.

Legend 28 weeks 23 hours ago
#6

Wyoming has less than 600000 population. They get 3 electoral votes (1 Congressman and 2 Senators) or 200000 persons per electoral vote. California has 40000000 and has 55 electoral votes. It is 727272 persons per electoral vote. This has to change! This is not Democracy! About as fair as China.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 28 weeks 21 hours ago
#7

As of March 8, Biden has issued 38 executive orders, has not given a single press conference, and doesn't intend to give a State of the Union Address. Those aren't the traits of a Democracy. We have a dictator, a monarch, who places himself above the representives of "we the people".

Legend 28 weeks 20 hours ago
#8

The latest attack Du Jour from the right wing media!

We remember the lack of press briefings from the White house under King Trump. 300+ days without a press briefings. We get daily briefings now. Or the press question sessions. With Trump answering questions next to the waiting helicopter. Where he could not hear the questions. How did you forget?

You watch too much right wing media.

There is a new tape of Trump trying to get more votes in GA.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 28 weeks 20 hours ago
#9

Presidential news conferences from the last 16 presidents according to the University of California at Santa Barbara. Check them out. During his 4 years in office, President Trump gave 88 press conferences for an average of 22/year. President Biden has went longer than any President in the last 100 years without giving a press conference, also, no President has failed to give a state of the Union address either in person or in writing.

BTW, I use actual references in my post. I don't 'cut an paste' unsourced articles and pretend it's a source.

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/presidential-news-conferences

Legend 28 weeks 19 hours ago
#10

How about NPR? There are plenty more.

Again, you are just repeating the right wing attack of the day. At least what you get in daily breifings is honest. All that you got from Trump was lies. 33000 by last count I saw.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 28 weeks 19 hours ago
#11

Mr Legend:

Here's a news flash for you, Trump is no longer President. We are talking about Democracy, and presidential transparency today, March 11, 2021. 38 Executive orders are not democracy in action. It's dictatorial. Please address that issue, and quit trying to divert it to something else.

cuz's picture
cuz 28 weeks 18 hours ago
#12

Worn out door knobs, I really think it is better than President Biden stay sequestered. Speaking off the cuff is no longer in his arsenal. His continual gaffes and lapses of memory presented on national television would not be helpful and cause the right to beat the drums even louder.

I believe he is speaking tonight and I predict it will be very short and to the point. Questions will likely not be an option and that is fine.

In trying to figure out who is actually telling Joe where to go, what to say, and who to pick for whatever, I am wondering if it is not Susan Rice. She is competent and has the experience to keep things somewhat on track. She is also a very powerful individual with good contacts and credentials.

As for the never-ending line of executive orders, I consider them and the two trillion dollar stimulus(?) to be nothing more than paybacks for help in winning the election. The actual covid relief in the bill is a small percentage of the total package which is mostly pork and gifts owed to cronies. That crap is nothing more than politics in general and has gone on a smaller scale for decades. Both sides do it and the public continues to look away.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 28 weeks 18 hours ago
#13

Yup, during four dull, painful years, what good were Trump's interminable, illiterate, unenlightened, and unintelligible press conferences when all he did was lie his pompous fat ass off in front of the American people? The result: over 500,000 dead citizens, a ruined economy, shocked allies betrayed, and a gleeful Putin.

And, as always, every other wing-nut talking point mentioned above is nothing but pure, pointless bullshit and shameless hypocrisy. "Figures don't lie, but liars do figure." Here, take this statistic and stick it squarely up...

Meanwhile, once again, a Democratic president with a working brain and a human heart is helping working-class Americans and their families instead of wasting two trillion on Wall Street fat cats. (No, nothing "trickled down" to the little people who will be paying for the Republican tax giveaways to the rich for a generation.)

Once again, a real president is busily cleaning up the horrible mess left by worthless, fascist Republicans who can't even govern their own way out of the sewer they inhabit. Proven over and over, most of the voters, sans the truly deluded, have finally figured out who the bad guys really are.

So good luck, fuckers, in 2022, 2024, and beyond. It's a thing of beauty -- the traitorous Republican Party is shriveling up and dying, fading away into obscurity like the Whig Party before them. Maybe the survivors can re-invent themselves someday in the distant future when the old guard is rotting in the grave. That should be an interesting journey.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 28 weeks 17 hours ago
#14

Hi Cuz,

I agree with you. It would be nice to know who the 'Puppet Master' is, but my guess is we'll never know. It would be refreshing to get away from the my side wins no matter what the cost, and have some honest dialogue between Democrats and Republicans.

Legend 28 weeks 16 hours ago
#15

If you are saying that he listens to his Cabinet and aids. Then evaluates based on their opinion and his own personal opinion. Then I would say that is good. Because Trump always claimed that he knew more than anybody else and made his decisions based on that only. By the way his approval ratings are higher than Trump ever had.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 28 weeks 16 hours ago
#16

How can you have an "honest" dialogue with people who constantly lie?

Legend 28 weeks 15 hours ago
#17

You don't mean Republicans?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 28 weeks 15 hours ago
#18

The shoe does fit... 🐘

rostasi 28 weeks 13 hours ago
#19

Biden has revoked 60 prior, awful orders with 17 orders.
Many cases, those having potentially deadly consequences, being revoked.
Nobody has had to clean up such a mess.
I don't think you really believe that you care about any of your B.S.
concerning news conferences - especially when it's clear that the
people in charge have huge lifting to do. Nice to see some actually
work being performed for a change instead of having a serial liar
in the media talking about how great he is all of the time.

Oh, I'm getting ready to watch him on TV right now.
Oh, the irony!

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Today, we are closing Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom is a national treasure. Read him, embrace him, learn from him, and follow him as we all work for social change."
Robert Greenwald, political activist and founder and president of Brave New Films
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current
From Screwed:
"Thom Hartmann’s book explains in simple language and with concrete research the details of the Neo-con’s war against the American middle class. It proves what many have intuited and serves to remind us that without a healthy, employed, and vital middle class, America is no more than the richest Third World country on the planet."
Peter Coyote, Actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall