By Dr David Laing Dawson
The Royal Wedding has brought out the skeptics, the wet blankets, and those that point out the absurdity of a modern democratic nation having a royal family, a king or queen. Surely we have evolved beyond this. And look at the incredible cost, they say.
Of course having a Queen, a royal family, and the fairy tale story of a commoner capturing the heart of a prince is anachronistic. Of course the pomp and circumstance is ridiculous and very expensive. It is all so old and out of date and silly in the age of liberal democracies and twitter.
But then so are we. We humans that is. We are anachronistic. Despite evolution we humans have retained a genetic propensity to project onto our leaders a sense of our own worth, our identity, some magical power, some special destiny. Perhaps we no longer can buy the “chosen by God story”, but we are still ready to bow and curtsy and believe. We bask in their excesses and successes. We are all too ready to revere them. They symbolize our history and our collective.
So having a king or queen, a royal family, without any actual power, allows us to harmlessly project onto them all of the above. We can watch them with admiration, glee, and shadenfreude. They embody our spirit, our collective. (It’s about time they became multi-racial).
And because we in Canada have this monarchy (and the representative of the monarchy) we can, and usually do, view our prime ministers as merely human, easily replaced with a vote of non-confidence. Good, bad, mediocre, fully human. Just doing a job someone else could do. We do feel a little spark of pride when they perform well on the world stage, but we are royally upset when they take a holiday at public expense.
At this very moment we can clearly observe the downside of having no Head of State above the elected leader of a full democracy in the USA and we can compare this with our anachronistic system in Canada.
We are protected from ourselves by retaining a Monarchy. Let the pomp and circumstance surround the Queen, the Royal Wedding, our own Governor General. Let them embody our collective, our desires, our identity. Then our elected leaders can be nothing more, or very little more, than public servants. Then they can be kept in or removed from office without much fuss. We will remember them kindly or not so kindly. They may or may not get an airport named after them, but we will not develop myths about them.
Compare this to what is happening now and what will undoubtedly transpire in the USA in the autumn of 2018.
Long live the Queen.