Should the United States adopt a system that gives us a king or queen?
That may seem like a preposterous question, but here’s the point. The U.S. President is both the chief political officer and symbolic head of state. Our politics have gotten so partisan that the role of head of state is politicized. It might be a good thing if the head of state was a ceremonial figure, above the anger and obstructionism of our political world, who could represent the whole country.
There are occasions when a non-partisan figure would be useful. The king or queen could open sessions of Congress in a non-political way. They could make speeches and act as a unifying factor on holidays, offer congratulations to foreign leaders on birthdays or winning elections, and other such occasions that require good manners and respect rather than politics.
A problem of course, would be where would we recruit American royalty. There are a few well-known political dynasties like the Boston Kennedys. But we are a highly diverse nation, and there would be immediate debate on whether the American royal family should have roots in Ireland, Germany, Mexico, China, Ghana, India or any other place Americans have roots in. Ideally the family would have some ancestral mix like German, Japanese, Mexican, Irish, West African and Native American ancestry.
Or perhaps we could recruit royalty from some of the royal houses. There are plenty of descendants of the Hapsburgs, Hohenzollerns and others who might be happy to become royal again. But that’s got the European aspect only. So maybe we could find a cousin of the Moroccan, Jordanian or Thai royal families?
Or maybe we could find a descendant of Pocahontas, the daughter of Powhatan, the Indian ruler who chose not to wipe out the young Virginia colony. The story goes she saved the life of the English explorer John Smith. She later married John Rolfe and their son has left a bunch of descendants, apparently including two First Ladies of the U.S. (Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Reagan). A member of the Reagan family would perhaps please American conservatives. But what of the other Native peoples? A descendant of the remarkable Shawnee leader Tecumseh could be a candidate, or a descendant of the Lakota leader Crazy Horse. Or perhaps a descendant of someone in the New Mexico Spanish colony, which dates to 1599.
There’s another problem, though. The U.S. Constitution says that the U.S. may not grant a title of nobility and lists several categories of public office that may not accept such titles, so it would take a Constitutional Amendment to change that.
Maybe that’s why so many Americans are fascinated by Megan and Harry and the British royals, some kind of royalty envy by people who are tired of the squabbles of Democrat and Republican.
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