The Queen’s Death and the American Media: Reflections of a Lowercase “R” Republican, by Luis Martínez-Fernández
Hispanic Heritage Month has just begun; it’s a busy time for me. At this time of year, I receive many invitations for media interviews, public talks and other projects.
But earlier this week, I received an unexpected request from the media. A reporter from my local CBS affiliate (Orlando, Florida) wanted to hear my thoughts on the online criticism of the British Crown following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
My first reaction was to say no: “I’m going to have to pass (like decline)”, I replied, “for the following reason: I am anti-monarchy to the core and I wouldn’t have anything nice to say no more about the monarchy. or its relations with former colonies. This is not the right time to rain on the Queen’s funeral procession.
The reporter must have found my response odd, but being good at his job, he tried again, insisting the channel was interested in representing all perspectives. I accepted a Zoom interview later today.
I watch a lot of news on TV, mostly CNN and MSNBC, occasionally clicking on Fox. Interestingly, the death of Queen Elizabeth united these disparate media in an apparent explosion of Anglophile monarchism.
The coverage has been relentless and almost completely complimentary, bordering on servility, as if we were still British subjects. I am not trying to disrespect Her Majesty The Queen, her grieving family and her grieving subjects. In fact, I admire the UK and its highly civilized people – pork pie and football hooliganism aside. But I found it disturbing that journalists, correspondents and commentators (Americans in particular) kept giving exaggerated praise of the Queen on American television. The cover’s main mantra: “Oh, his sense of duty”; “She dedicated her whole life to service,” yada, yada, yada.
What about duty and service? A “plebeian” American or Englishwoman, who works hard (and long hours) as a teacher or factory worker; she takes public transport – is not driven home in a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce.
Her second shift begins immediately: she has to cook the family dinner, something quick and simple (macaroni and cheese or a meatloaf) – no special French-trained chefs or delicacies from Fortnum & Mason (founded in 1707).
Then she has to help her children with their homework – no involved tutors or exclusive boarding schools. Finally, when everyone is asleep, our commoner takes a quick shower – no servants or cloud-soft towels from Miter Linen (founded in 1946) – and falls asleep in a bed whose replacement is long overdue – certainly not a handmade Canadian product. Hypno bed.
There are no real holidays at the end of the school year. Our generic teacher takes a summer job just to make ends meet and maybe buy a new mattress – no trip to Balmoral Palace to rest and play with dogs and horses.
Tell me who deserves the highest praise for their sense of duty, service and dedication. Who deserves a crown?
Why are Americans and the American media so enamored with the British monarchy, which we broke from in 1776? Why such terribly glowing media coverage? I have even heard TV commentators praising the humanity of the new king for shedding a tear in public and accepting a stranger’s hug on the street. What was he supposed to do – push her back into the crowd?
Not only the United States, but all Latin American countries fought for their independence, ending oppressive monarchical rule and establishing republican forms of government. We should find monarchical rule offensive. We don’t believe in the divine right of monarchs to rule, so why do we see them as having it?
We are citizens (citizens), not subjects. Thank God for the Francophilia of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin.
We claim to believe that all men (and women) are created equal and tell our children, with some level of honesty, that they can grow up to be president. Constitutionally, the United States cannot grant titles of nobility; and no one in office can accept one. We don’t have a House of Lords and a House of Commons.
So why have the American media and the American public put on such a monarchist spectacle? Is this yet another manifestation of our withdrawal from the democratic regime? Do we aspire to a sense of national unity and stability?
Luis Martinez-Fernandez is the author of “Revolutionary Cuba: A History” and “The Key to the New World: A History of the Beginning of Cuban Colonization”. Readers can attach it to [email protected] To learn more about Luis Martinez-Fernandez and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www. creators.com.
Photo credit: Bjonsson at Pixabay