We pause this week to remember Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away peacefully last Thursday at the age of 96.
Some may wonder what effect, if any, the life and death of another nation’s monarch has on our far away little corner of the world. The answer is in the realization that we are a product of what came before us, whether or not we have any sense of history or heritage at all.
Elizabeth was an icon of the Greatest Generation, and she lived their highest ideals. Her life was guided by faith and principle, defined by duty, honor, and accountability. Despite the flaws of their humanity, these were the guideposts of our parents and grandparents, and their absence feeds our floundering frustrations today.
Elizabeth raised a family, and struggled as we do with relatives that we prefer not to mention. While she was one of the world’s most recognizable celebrities, she did not market her dirty laundry, or burden us with an incessant narcissistic broadcasting of opinions and feelings which is the defining attribute of celebrity, and just about everyone else today.
Elizabeth wielded a tremendous amount of power and influence, and she did so with grace and style. She was involved in over 600 charities and organizations. She could drive a jeep, ride a horse and change a diaper. She was a queen, and also a mother and wife. In an age where an inflamed fringe of our culture wants to pretend that we don’t know what a woman is, we can look at Elizabeth until the end of history and say, now there was a woman!
The inflamed fringe seeks to dismantle history and heritage, and force us to see everything and everyone through lenses of race and gender. The mouthpieces of this adversarial paradigm are already denigrating Elizabeth and her legacy, attempting to peg her to to a shameful imperialistic past, ignoring the fact that the Empire was dismantled during her reign, and that she personally supported that process.
The sun set on the Empire long ago. Back home the sun rises over the mountain just as brightly as it did yesterday, and turning again to the chores at hand, the events across the pond seem far away. I’ll chop wood and carry water, just like I did the day before, but today the memory of my parents and grandparents follows me. I think of their WWII stories, and their struggles, sacrifices and triumphs.
Elizabeth was one of the last of that generation, the last generation to be anchored in reality, reality defined by faith and purpose. We have weighed anchor now, and we are adrift. Many hands grab for the rudder, and among them, so many needy hands, weak hands, soft, clammy, some desperate. Strong hands are needed now, but the fringe says strength is a flaw.
Despots arise during times when too many weak hands grasp for the rudder. Elizabeth’s generation fought a world war to overcome the despots of her time, and the world today has several candidates who aspire to that kind of power. At a time when we need strength, a suicidal paradigm which claims that reality is what we feel it to be, prevents us from guiding the ship. Godspeed, Elizabeth, and God save the rest of us.