Commentary: An open letter to Queen Elizabeth
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 5, 2010 - To: Her Royal, Majestic Highness
Forgive my maladroit salutation, but we here in the colonies are never quite sure how to act around royalty. On the one hand, we think it's pretty cool that you've got crowns, robes, thrones and all that rot. We never tire of tabloid coverage of palace gossip and consider it rather sporting of your taxpayers to pitch in to make sure that you don't have to work for a living.
On the other, despite bountiful evidence to the contrary, we've been pretending that all men were created equal for the past 234 years. This fiction makes the concept of royalty somewhat awkward. As my ex-marriage counselor used to say, we appear to be "conflicted."
By the way, it occurs to me that bonnie Prince Charles has been waiting in the catbird seat for as long as I have been alive. In the movies and fairy tales, the prince is usually about 16. This guy's got to be past 60. I know he's kind of a goober but, jeez, don't you think it's about time to let him change out of the short pants?
I don't wish to be forward, but couldn't you promote yourself to Queen Mother or something and let him try his hand at King? How badly can he screw that up? Besides, the coronation might look good on his resume. Quite frankly, his portfolio is presently a bit thin -- "hanging out and waiting for Mum to pass" isn't much of an occupation. At the rate you're going, by the time the poor bloke finally ascends to the throne, he'll be too old to walk up the steps to sit on it. I'm just saying...
Also, I'm somewhat puzzled by your choice of knights. I know it's your call on who gets made a peer of the realm and I certainly wouldn't presume to usurp your prerogative, but I'm having a little trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of a jousting match between Paul McCartney and Elton John.
As you are no doubt aware, the last armed conflict between our two nations was the Battle of New Orleans. You may not recall many of the details because you were probably pretty young at the time, but the Reader's Digest version is that Andrew Jackson kicked your guys' ass, which prompted Parliament to ratify the Treaty of Ghent, thus formally ending the War of 1812.
I figured any lingering hard feelings over that one should have been assuaged by the world wars. After all, if we hadn't twice pulled your bacon from the fire, the Sun's daily "Page 3 Girl" would be a fraulein. Alas, it appears that old wounds can be slow to heal because it seems you've launched the British Petroleum Corp. as the instrument of your revenge.
Under the unflinching leadership of Tony Hayward, BP managed to sack the city your troops failed to reach nearly 200 years ago. New Orleans, along with the rest of the Gulf Coast, has suffered ecological and economic devastation from the Deepwater Horizon disaster while bumbling experts from BP resolutely demonstrated the limits of engineering.
For his part, Hayward initially seemed to view the catastrophe as a rather annoying interruption of the yachting season. He's since been exiled to Siberia (literally) but not before starring in a TV ad in which he gave an extremely unconvincing performance as a contrite, eco-friendly CEO.
While a Mississippi native, Bob Dudley, has now taken the reins at corporate headquarters, BP's TV persona has morphed into one Fred Lemond. Fred couldn't be more born-on-the-bayou if he had Spanish moss growing out of his ears and a gator in his pocket. He's on constant patrol by air and sea, searching for "oryl" in the "waters he loves." And Fred ain't about to give up till every gollderned drop of that offending crude is cleaned up. Turns out BP went to the Gulf not to exploit its resources but to improve the region's environment.
I can only presume that somebody in the PR Department finally figured out that the aggrieved locals might be more forgiving of one of their own than they would be of an irked aristocrat. Motives notwithstanding, the transformation was remarkable: the corporate character shifted from the House of Lords to the Dukes of Hazzard in the course of a news cycle.
Having apparently staunched the deadly flow from the blown well, the good ole boys at BP are presently having trouble finding water-borne oil to skim. No one's sure where the polluting plumes and slicks went, but just to be on the safe side, I'll suggest that you refrain from smoking near the shrimp...
Well, Liz, BP's make-over gave me an idea: If a wealthy British corporation can be converted into a mom and pop operation on the Redneck Riviera, why can't a broke global superpower return to its former status as a royal colony? After all, things haven't been going too well here in the New World of late and it may just be time to rethink that whole 1776 decision to revolt.
You can see how it could have happened: the guys are sitting around grousing about that damned tea tax your great-Uncle George imposed and pretty soon Franklin breaks out a jug and passes it around. Next thing you know, Jefferson's talking about the rights of man, Madison's mumbling something about checks and balances, Hancock finds a quill and things get out of hand...
Now we're up to our armpits in debt, trapped in a couple of foreign wars we can't seem to wind up, politically and culturally divided with a domestic economy that's deader than fried chicken. About the only thing generally agreed on is that the country's heading in the wrong direction.
Reversion to monarchy might be the perfect remedy. You can't get much more right-wing than a king and queen, so conservatives ought to be happy while liberals should embrace the half-assed brand of socialism you people practice over there. Meanwhile, a return of the colonies to the kingdom would be the crowning achievement of your seemingly endless reign.
It's something to think about...
Your Aspiring Subject,
M.W.Guzy is a retired St. Louis cop who currently works for the city Sheriff's Department. His column appears weekly in the Beacon.