Three Little Words
Duty. Honor. Country. Listening to the press coverage around the death of Queen Elizabeth II, those three little words—4, 5, and 6 letters—loom large as media pundits try to sum up a nearly century-long life.
No one does pomp and ceremony like the British. Royal marriages and jubilees have graced our television screens with regularity, but this monarch’s funeral will be the first since 1952. Broadcast technology was in its infancy when George VI was buried. Princess Diana’s funeral garnered a worldwide audience of nearly two billion and chances are even more will tune in for her former mother in law.
Critics will say the monarchy is an institution that should go the way of the dodo. Pundits will speak to the excesses of colonialism as if the queen herself personally subdued the Zulu or the Māori. Just as ink-wasting lightweights try to judge historical figures by modern ethics, it’s a mistake to hold the modern monarchy accountable for centuries-past policies.
If we’re to take any lessons from the queen’s passing, it’s the way she led her life, true to her oath when she assumed the throne: Duty. Honor. Country. Try to find those words honored in any meaningful way by any American politician of any philosophical bent. I’ll wait. Kennedy and Reagan come to mind. Carter certainly, although he wasn’t as effective. Currently, Tulsi Gabbard and Zell Miller fit the bill. Precious few Republicans and even fewer Democrats.
Maybe it’s because we’re still a brash young country: Elizabeth’s family tree is four times longer than our independence. Maybe it’s because we were founded by rebels, immigrants, and slaves: fighting against the status quo.
Whatever the reason, we could learn a few things from the recent events “across the pond.” Starting with civil discourse, a frequent topic here. As we enter the home stretch of this year’s election cycle, clear your mind of the endless television commercials, mailouts, and robocalls. Simply ask yourself, which candidate can be held to the standard?
Duty. Honor. Country.
Three Little Words