Tuesday, 26 August 2008

All Hail

I couldn’t quite figure why people so badly need the so-called ‘humanization’ of Mr Obama and the endless trivia on display last night, the stories about his courtship of his wife, his brother-in-law’s recollections of L’il Sis, or what Michelle feels about her daughters’ education. I am favorably disposed toward the family, but none of that seemed to me to have much to do with warfare, mortgage foreclosure, gas prices or the Darfur refugees—that is, the issues that should matter to us as electors.

But it does make sense if we are in fact naming a sort of royal family to preside over our state and symbolize our polity for the next four years. If we are eager to watch little Malia grow up and think of her as a future princess or even queen, just as the Brits observe Prince Harry and imagine him wielding the royal sceptre, then it’s nice to get a glimpse of her now and see how cute she is on the big stage.

That places Ted Kennedy metaphorically in the role of the dying king anointing his successor, and given the dynastic aspects of the Kennedy clan and Teddy’s rhetorical evocation of Camelot, that’s a pretty good fit, too.

But American monarchical tendencies aren’t governed by bloodlines, and the Clintons now pass into the category of the usurped, with Princess Chelsea no longer in direct line for the throne. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of former queen Hillary will appear as: Bloody Mary?

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