OPINION: The Royal Absurdity | Omid Fouldapouri
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are not representative of Pulse Magazine, CCA, or SDUHSD, as a whole.
“QUEEN ELIZABETH DEAD!” rang all the headlines 10 days ago, with a whole 10 days given to national mourning concluded by the grand funeral proceedings. After the longest rule of any UK monarch ever, the Queen passed after a long 96-year-old life — the majority of which consisted of being the head of the United Kingdom. This news created a great amount of varied responses. Some were very somber, some cheered, and most of the world didn’t mind, as they had greater issues to worry about compared to the passing of someone who lived a long and worry-free life of over 96 years. The funeral (which concluded yesterday) involved great amounts of money spent and decades of planning with the procession being broadcasted on live television to millions upon billions of people. Why? Why are monarchs still elevated to such importance in this supposed age of democracy we live in?
With all the talk of societal equality, why do we still take no issue with monarchs casually existing either? Queen Elizabeth II, having been the national symbol of the UK for over 70 years, also represented a symbol of everything the UK stands for and the actions it engaged in over that time. The UK, not only in being an imperialist power but THE imperialist power of the past 400+ years, continued to prevent countries from achieving independence far into Elizabeth’s reign. Northern Ireland is one of the most notable examples of the type of independence movement that the UK continues to oppose. A people who clearly wish to separate are militantly forced into submission by their colonial rulers with no regard for democracy or freedom.
In addition to accepting modern day imperialism and colonialism, how do we as a society accept monarchies such as the royal family so casually? Aren’t we all in agreement that we should be trying to avoid allowing someone, or a family, to have that much importance (and power)? And while they may not be making the laws, they are certainly above them. They also hold significant amounts of political power in their statements, even if they don’t have official legislative rule. And for the people in the US feeling sorrowful, is this not the same England that was actively suppressing the United States independence movements in its creation? This is all without mentioning the expensive costs of everything the Queen did and the amount of money that could go into helping most people. Just the Queen’s net worth alone (an estimated $426 million) could have been used to feed the millions of people in the UK that go hungry every single day. The lack of sympathy for the people who need it the most is the biggest concern. The poor are left in pure negligence to die on the streets and a single monarch --who is known for simply being born into the right family-- gets all of the attention, wealth, and regard.
The existence of monarchies, even symbolic, is yet another demonstration that our society hasn’t done enough to move forward from its dictatorial and hierarchical past where equality has lacked and continues to lack to this day.