It’s that time again – that point in the election cycle when op-ed pieces with titles like “Do We Really Have to Keep Talking About All This Until November?” start appearing. Despite the less-than-titillating candidates on the slab this time around, Americans are still being relentlessly, repeatedly asked to choose, choose, choose, until even a waitress asking “Decaf or regular?” provokes an automatic “Get off my back, Axelrod!” With national unity now a kitschy relic like the automat or enumerated powers, the only thing keeping us from another civil war is that the rebels would have to choose a new capital, flag, national anthem, and chief executive – it’d just be more of the same, and no one has the energy. Though it may seem we’re forever doomed to these quadrennial national games of “Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mitt,” there is a way out of this. If we Americans can summon the courage and the will, there’s a bold choice we can make that will turn our broken political system on its head and breathe new life into the nation.
No, I’m not talking about electing Gary Johnson. Be realistic. I’m talking about doing the sensible thing and establishing an American monarchy.
It’s not as strange as it sounds. Look how excited everyone was recently about the Diamond Jubilee of a foreign monarch – a descendant of the king we revolted against! Barry, Mittens, step aside. You can’t unify America, but a dignified old lady with some lovely jewelry and a clutch of impractical dogs? We’d follow her to hell and back. For a country clearly so tired of elections and unable to choose anything except a flavor of milkshake, a monarchy makes sense. After a decade of war, recession, and Europeans no longer even pretending to like us, Americans justifiably want to crawl into a big national lap and have someone else fix it while we cry and eat rice pudding. There’s too many of us for group therapy, so it’ll have to be a king.
We’re already halfway there. When presidents overstep their authority, it sends us to the liquor cabinet instead of the barricades. Authoritarianism makes us tired, not angry. We’ve made the veneration of strangers an art – we already follow the minutest details of the Kardashians’ lives the way Britons used to devour the Court Circular; why not drape one of them in ermine and call her Your Majesty? Or, if we decided to be history-minded, we could marry a Jefferson descendant to one of those leftover Roosevelts and have a ready-made dynasty. (This option also raises the pleasing prospect of getting to behead a Kennedy as a pretender to the throne.) Which would you rather have: an earnest conversation about whether a Hispanic running mate for Romney would “balance” the Republican ticket, or a ribald debate over which princess looks the mostly likely to produce healthy male heirs? Wide-hipped women would finally have a flattering way to describe their body type on dating websites: “shaped like royalty.” And if our royal family aggressively married into others around the world, our ruling house might start inheriting other kingdoms. Imagine this gem crawling across the bottom of CNN: “His Royal Highness, Leroy of Jefferson-Roosevelt-Vanderbilt-Hilton, King of America and Sultan of Oman.” We’d also be free of the threat of future “birther” controversies: the tradition of having royal births observed by members of the government and court would placate everyone except those bitter at having a seat with a poor view of the twat royal.
Worried about fairness? Don’t be. Our Constitution is already so liberally covered with metaphorical correction fluid that it would be a moment’s work to slide in the clause, “The office of King of the United States shall not be restricted with respect to race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, veteran status, family status, or competence.” Tired of the “boring white guys” that dominate American politics? Monarchy gives us a way out. All we’d have to do to get exciting royalty like crazy Carlos “the Accursed” of Spain or the sexy and murderous Joanna of Naples is marry a single lunatic into the royal line and then watch heredity work in eccentric ways, its psychoses to perform. With enough inbreeding, the genes that make a compulsive hand-washer today could flower into a second Nero in less than a century.
Even an unpopular monarch would do us good. A common enemy unites people; our problem now is that enemies are too common. Obama, Bush, Congress, the Supreme Court, voters, Super PACs, Republicans, Democrats, immigrants, the media, France: there are so many potential villains that we can’t focus our indignation on a single one. Think about what would happen if we had a truly national scapegoat, a Carter-Dubya hybrid in Tyrian purple. We could blame him for every problem and then make progress toward solving them. The increasingly silly dialogue about “the direction and vision of the country” could be replaced by a lot of quieter, and ultimately more effective, grumbling about having to tidy up “yet another of His Majesty’s clusterfucks.”
If none of the above convinces you, let me add one more point. Where there are kings, there are nobles. Think of all the fun we’d have yelling at each other about how to create a freedom-enhancing, equal-opportunity peerage. (Titles would, of course, be subject to inheritance tax, so a duke’s son would be an earl, an earl’s son a baron, and a baron’s son is plain old Tim.) And just imagine the television event of the century: the investiture of Her Grace, Duchess Oprah of Chicago. Everyone in the studio audience, as a special prize, gets to be her vassal.
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