Not Just Queen for a Day

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The American public needs a queen. Not the kind of royal status we accord to pop stars and television anchors, merely rich folks, and politicians. Not even the Kennedys or the Bush line. Or the Cabots or the Lodges. I’m talking about people who don’t have to do anything but volunteer work, bless good works, wear goofy clothes and silly hats and always be in good taste, and whose lives are concerned about maintaining an adequate supply of asparagus forks while they advise and counsel. They don’t have to be particularly handsome or even very smart. That’s part of their charm.

The Brits have the right idea about these things, even if they are a tad odd in the way the speak the language, eat strange foods and get all upset over stuff like cropping dogs’ ears. Royalty are great for product endorsements. Who cares that the Queen of England doesn’t have a vote? I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t bother her one little bit. The Queen sets the standard for all that’s good and right with the world, bucking up when times are hard.

American efforts to mimic royalty just don’t come off right. Let’s take Queen for a Day, a 1950’s T.V. show which rewarded losers and the downtrodden with a crown, robe and gifts for the saddest story. The hausfrau with the most desperate story of a crippled son who stuck his tongue in the electrical outlet, a runaway husband who lived in an iron lung, and looming eviction from a trailer park would be awarded something like an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, a Maytag washer and a suite of living room furniture, just what she really needed. Homecoming queens and kings and Pork Producers’ Queens just don’t make the cut.

The closest the U.S. has to royalty are the presidential family, movie stars and television anchors, but their terms are short-lived. A few years or a single wrong move, and they’re toast. Yes, even the beloved Barbara Bush. I’d like her to be the Queen Elizabeth of the U.S. until her dying days.

Speaking of the Barbaras Bush, only the younger merited an invitation to tonight’s dinner at the White House. The Queen has visited the U.S. but four times during the past fifty years, and I think the Barbara Bush who wasn’t a Yale graduate should’ve been invited. But then I see that poor Jenna, too, was left off the guest list.

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