We Fought A War So We Wouldn’t Have To Care About The Royal Baby
I’ve stopped sleeping with my iPhone, so it wasn’t until I was up and on my first cup of coffee Monday morning that I saw the first news flash:
Meghan Markle is in labor!
What a start to the day.
Honestly, who cares?
Yes, I was the one who - after spying a Tweet several weeks ago announcing that Markle would be taking three months off after the birth of her first child - retorted:
Seriously. What exactly does this American actress-turned-duchess do, other than don designer clothes, smile for the cameras, wave a lot and snip the odd ribbon?
What do any of the royals do?
OK, I have read that Markle is so surly and demanding that her employees tend to quit and that she once made her sister-in-law - sweet Kate Middleton - break down in tears. But I try not to read this royal gossip because, well, I’m an American.
Frankly, the whole notion of a monarchy ought to trigger a mild case of disgust in Americans. Unless, of course, the Founders didn't really mean that stuff in the Declaration of Independence about all of us being created the same. Or unless Thomas Paine was kidding when he called the concept of a hereditary monarchy the invention of the devil.
"All men being originally equal, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others," Paine wrote in "Common Sense," as he goaded his adopted countrymen into a revolution.
DNA is not destiny. Or it shouldn’t be.
Shortly after that first bulletin, there were a dozen more in quick succession:
It’s a boy!
Yes, much of the world is - in the words of the late British anti-Monarchist Christopher Hitchens - “moist with excitement” over the birth of this well-born baby boy. (He was referring to William and Kate’s royal wedding. Americans were moist over that, too.)
I’m not even damp with excitement - I grew up in an Irish-American household where I was taught that the queen and her posse were royal “parasites” - still, I am glad Harry and Meghan’s little boy is healthy and loved.
It’s worth remembering that there were roughly 352,999 other babies born in the world yesterday. Didn’t see any news bulletins about their arrivals. Most were not attended to by the very best medical care available and most will not grow up in a “cottage” the size of Wyoming, never knowing want nor work.
Most of those new fathers didn’t stand in front of grand stables - nicer than many homes - to announce the birth of a son to a fawning world.
Oh and very few of the 352,999 new mothers will be able to toss their infant to a servant, slide into a royal bed and be waited on until they’re fully recovered. And they won’t have a choice about whether they want to change diapers or do laundry, either.
Having a baby is hard work. And the months after birth are exhausting.
It’s a free country - thank God - if you want to worship Britain’s royal family, have at it.
But we fought a war so we wouldn’t have to care about the birth of a royal baby.
Can’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would make of America’s fascination with the British monarchy 237 years after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.
Not much, I suspect.