One shouldn’t have to be British to at least respect the fact that the world has lost in Queen Elizabeth II something we’ll never see again.
I have a hard time being able to imagine people who can’t find something to respect in Queen Elizabeth. A colleague of mine asked my thoughts on why so many people around the world are so interested in the Royal Family, particularly the Queen herself.
That’s a tough question to answer. Especially if you’re American. Those of us on this side of the proverbial pond have a hard time understanding just how much Her Majesty the Queen meant to her subjects. That’s a given, isn’t it?
Here in America, our leader is limited to two terms. Despite the term limit, a president can be elected twice even after completing a predecessor’s term. Lyndon Johnson, for example, who became president after John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, served the remainder of Kennedy’s term. He then ran successfully in 1964 and was elected president for the first time that year. He chose not to run for re-election in 1968. But if he had run and been elected, he would have served more than eight years in office.
The longest-serving president America had was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was first elected to office in 1932. He was re-elected to the presidency an unprecedented three more times. Had the stresses of the job and World War II not killed him, he could have served 16 years, rather than just more than 12.
Queen Elizabeth reigned for 70.
Think about that. Seventy years.
I’m glad she was able to reach her platinum jubilee. She held the second-longest reign of any monarch whose actual dates of reign can be verified. She was second only to France’s King Louie XIV, who reigned 72 years. It took more than 300 years for anyone to come within reach of matching that record.
There are senior citizens among the Queen’s subjects who have known of that one monarch for their entire lives.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest we’ll never see anything like that again. I haven’t Googled a list of the longest-serving monarchs still in power, but I still feel safe in suggesting that, so far, her record is in no danger of being broken.
Imagine the president you admire most — although I might not care to know who some of you might choose. Imagine that leader serving for seven decades.
Then imagine how you might feel if that leader were to die while still serving after all that time.
Most of us can’t begin to imagine that. That’s rather the point.
We don’t get it. We never will get it. But it doesn’t mean we can’t show respect.
Just two days before her passing, Queen Elizabeth met with new Prime Minister Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. At 96 years old, she was still determined to perform her duties.
You have to admire someone that committed to duty.
Every time I browse around, I find ads and articles about retiring early. Banks and financial advisors alike want to help you boost your 401K so you can retire at 50. Sorry, folks, I missed that deadline.
If we’re lucky, no matter how much we like our job, we’ll still want to feel that deep a sense of duty the way she did.
If we’re lucky, we’ll want to work into 90s. We can hope to even live that long, much less be healthy enough to be able to work if we choose to.
At the same time, while I might hope to have the good health and mental stamina to want to work at age 96, I’d like to think I’d long since be lounging at home surrounded by Collies by then.
I also acknowledge that the same contingent of people who seem obsessed with finding something to complain about are out in full force. No matter how admired Elizabeth might be, they seem unable to withhold their crassness at the time of her death.
I grew up at a time when we learned a simple lesson: If you have nothing nice to say, it might just be better to remain silent. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback of social media is that people who should learn to remain silent a little more often just can’t seem to muster the self-control to pull that off.
They don’t seem to realize that they say more negative things about themselves than their target in such moments. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, having one’s true colors on display for all to see is the best thing that can happen.
Yes, there’s a lot of coverage. What did you really expect?
While I admired Queen Elizabeth, I’m far from obsessed with Her Majesty or her family. I’ve never been all that interested in the daily goings-on of the Royals. I’ve managed to find plenty of things that I think are more worthy of my concern.
Still, most of us know that to some degree or another, there are a lot of people who seem to have some sort of attraction to British royalty. Don’t ask me why; that’s a great question for you to ask them.
But the point is this: given the interest, you’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot about Queen Elizabeth through her funeral. Your soap operas and game shows and newscasts and even perhaps a prime time favorite or two might be interrupted. Some might be pre-empted altogether.
Please spare us your hissy fits. It’s an imperfect world. People die. Special reports happen.
Television, as I’ve said before, is one of the few truly Democratic systems in our world. If people didn’t tune in for coverage of the death of Queen Elizabeth and its aftermath, you could rest assured the networks wouldn’t carry it. It really is that simple.
There are plenty of things I’m less interested in that interrupt shows I’m more interested in. But I know there are others who are far more interested in what’s interrupting my show. Sometimes, it’s the other way around.
But I know it’s not always about me. I also know it’s never going to be about only me.
A family, a nation, and admirers around the globe have experienced a great loss. You may not see it that way.
But they do.
Maybe we could all consider other people a little more often.