Watching Sarah Palin’s charming performance in last week’s debate made us wonder if America shouldn’t restore the monarchy.
Palin belongs nowhere near the White House; that much is clear. But the camera loves her, and her obvious appeal demands some prominent place in government. So why not queen? As with the British monarchy, Sarah and her family could channel our country’s fascination with personability, celebrity and inanity, and give it a home safely away from the serious workings of the executive and legislative branches.
The tabloids — print and electronic — would follow breathlessly the Palins’ ups and downs: Sarah on the phone with Track, the family at a hockey game, Todd preparing for a snowmobile race, the couple huddled at the kitchen table with Trig, Willow and Piper pouring over possible names for Bristol’s baby.
American royals, unlike the European type, would have a distinctly down-home style, as befitting the national character. No one would have to bow or curtsy before Queen Sarah. No one would have to call her “your majesty.” Just plain “Sarah” would do nicely, although “Prince Todd” has a ring to it and could be considered.
What about a palace?
As for a palace, we’re thinking a spot could be cleared somewhere on The Mall in Washington, maybe alongside the Reflecting Pool. A friend suggests a nice, white brick ranch house of the type found in suburban Phoenix; at least 6,500 square feet with several big-screen TVs and a four-stall garage with plenty of storage for wolf pelts and all-terrain vehicles.
Eventually, subpalaces could be placed in other parts of the country. But if the object is to shake up Washington, well, the principal residence should be close to the people who need shaking.
Presented with the opportunity to take the throne, Sarah might demure, saying thanks but no thanks. But as the importance of her mission becomes clearer, we’re sure she won’t blink. Indeed, she may wink and say it sounds pretty darn good, this royal thing.
There’s the problem of what an American monarch should do.
British queen’s main job: ‘walkabout’
In Britain, the queen is chief of the executive branch, commander of the armed forces, and head of the Church of England, although no one takes her authority seriously. Her main job is what the Brits describe as “walkabout,” meaning that she tours the world, shakes hands and accepts bouquets of flowers. Once a year, she speaks to Parliament about what she wants it to do. She arrives, we believe, by horse-drawn coach flanked by a splendid formation of red-coated guards. The politicians are polite to her, but pay little attention to what she says or wants.
This sounds perfect.
As for whether Sarah should have a crown, scepter and other royal trappings, that’s probably a matter of budget. Cost is an important question for a country that is so far in debt that the shadiest loan shark won’t return its calls.
Good for free enterprise
Actually, we expect the enterprise to make lots of money. Corporate naming rights for the palaces, endorsements of products, book deals, film rights, wardrobe deals, website advertising, tickets for touring the royal home, cash from the tabloids for baby photos and intimate glimpses into the royal lifestyle, you get the picture. Think of it as a comeback for the free-enterprise system.
These shores have been without a monarch for a number of years, and, if memory serves, George III wasn’t all that bad. The House of Palin can make an important contribution.
So let us begin. When you think about it, becoming a monarch is the most maverick thing that an American politician can do.
Steve Berg is a regular contributor to MinnPost. Alex Berg, his son, is a writer and producer in New York.
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