On Presidents, Princes and Popes

On Presidents, Princes and Popes May 26, 2017

One of the most curious things I’ve observed since moving back to my homeland after spending twenty five years of my life in the UK, is what I term America’s emotional instability.

Let’s face it, we’re the world’s only superpower. Our military dwarfs every other nations, and even those who have a large military presence are our allies. And yet we’re so insecure. We’re always talking up the threats and dangers and always building more walls, more defense, more “homeland security.”

We’re also the world’s most muscular economy. We control the world economy and despite the rising powers of China, India and Russia, we’re still on top. Yet we still worry about not having enough and about not being rich enough?

This isn’t an economic or military or political problem.

This is an emotional problem. We’re emotionally unstable and emotionally immature.

One of the symptoms is the constant political insecurity. I noticed during the Obama presidency that right wingers were always talking about how Obama was going to suspend elections and declare a state of emergency. He needed to be impeached. He was a criminal. He had no place being president. Concentration camps were already set up. It was the end of our freedom. He was going to put in place a national police force manned by blacks which would foment civil and racial unrest.

Now Trump is in the Oval Office its left wingers who are talking about impeachment. They suspect Russian collusion with the election campaign. Trump is a dangerous demagogue. He’s going to start locking people up. He’s going to close down the media. He’s going to be America’s first tyrant.

If my analysis is true, then it is interesting to see that much of this same insecurity and uncertainty bubbles away in other countries too.

But I’ll tell you where it does not exist in the same way: the UK.


I think it is because of the monarchy. Prime Ministers come and go. Governments come and go. The monarchy remains. I think this give a country a huge amount of gravitas, weight, self identity and emotional stability. Part of this is because HMQ has been on the throne for so long, but even when Charles ascends and then William the Brits will have that continuity and stability that we lack.

The POTUS has to be both head of government and head of state. But the person who is head of state symbolized the whole country. They are a living embodiment of the country’s idealsThis has come out very much in the Netflix series The Crown. The young queen is told time and again that the people don’t care who she is a person. They don’t want an individual, a celebrity, a character or a genius. They want a symbol.

She is told time and again that her best trait is that she keeps her mouth shut. She smiles and waves and performs a completely other function than being a brilliant statesman, politician, inventor, writer, teacher or anything else. Its not what she does. Its who she is.

It seems to me that when the POTUS is head of state half the people are going to dislike him and therefore feel unhappy in their country and about their country. Half the people will feel uncertain and unstable and full of fear while the other half (who do like him) will also be full of insecurity and fear because he might lost the next election.

I think we have an instinct for monarchy. We want that stability. We want a King. Maybe that’s why we’ve elected so many political dynasties like the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, the Bush Clan and now the Clintons. We actually want a royal family.

Which brings me to the Pope. What we want in a monarch is also what we want in a Pope. Oh, its okay if the pope has opinions and tries to change the world. Its wonderful if he is a writer, a theologian, an actor, a philosopher or a poet. Its just fine if he’s all these things and even better if he’s a saint.

However, I’d be more than happy for the Pope–this pope or any pope– to simply be the Vicar of Christ, the Head of the Church on earth–the man in white who smiles, waves, prays and hold the place open until his Boss arrives.

Such a pope brings stability and certainty and peace to his church just by being there. All the other stuff he does or wants to do or thinks he is supposed to do?


He can get on and do it if he wants, but I’m not that terribly interested to be honest.

I just want him to be the Royal Steward of the King of Kings.

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