Queen Elizabeth II on the Republican Presidential Kerfuffle of 2016

I am thinking about Queen Elizabeth.

She’s bound to be sitting over there in Buckingham Palace, thinking about the United States, and the Republican debates, and the upcoming presidential election, and all the things that might happen between now and the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. And what might happen on and after January 20, 2017.

I think about the Queen’s weekly audience with her Prime Minister at which, according to The official website of The British Monarchy, she has the right and the duty to express her views on Government matters. The views she expresses might go something like this:

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle...
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is our duty to say we are shocked, simply shocked, at the goings-on across the Pond. And it is our right to say that, no matter what the Government wishes, we shall not–nay, will not–invite any of those heathens to tea. Nor will Kate allow them to kiss the babies. They behave abominably. One does not hear the Prince of Wales use such vulgarities unless his telephone has been illegally tapped. Prince Harry did prove a bit of an embarrassment during his stay in Las Vegas, but he’s promised not to do it again, and, anyway, he is not angling to become Leader of the Free World.

Why is it the United States does not fix things so that nice Mr. Obama can stay indefinitely? We quite like him. He speaks in complete sentences that always parse, and he has never made the slightest effort to massage our neck. And we rather admired his wife’s dressing down when she visited the Palace. We get tired of people always putting on the dog. In fact, we have been thinking of acquiring a twinset of our own.

The fact that Mr. Obama is said be a gay communist fascist pot-smoking Muslim terrorist doesn’t bother us one little bit.  

Now, here is the thing: Magna Charta allows us to reign for life. Surely their Constitution could be amended to extend President Obama’s time in office, at least until the churls have crawled back under the rocks from whence they emerged.

It is our duty to advise that you call the President immediately and broach the subject. Promise him our full support. 

And tell him we will send some of our Redcoats to back him up. Prince Harry has been just itching to get back into action.

 

The Scottish Referendum a Day Late & Assorted Rambling

It’s one p.m. Texas time. I’m in a coffee shop, procrastinating, and I can’t think of a better way to procrastinate than to google Scottish Referendum and check on how things are proceeding.

I thought the results might have already been announced, since Scotland is several hours ahead of us, but so far they haven’t. Further googling pulled up news that numbers will start trickling in about one a.m. Friday. The final result might be announced much later on Friday.

In Scotland, one a.m. is drawing nigh. I’d like to stay up to watch the exit polls, but getting a full night’s sleep at night is more important than watching coverage of a Scottish election, especially when I avoid most election coverage here in the U. S.

I read–or maybe heard on NPR–that if one votes Yes, he’s supposed to go directly to the Yes lady and report how he voted. It’s expected to be more accurate than exit polls.

If a large number of citizens vote like my father did, however, the Yes ladies could get it wrong. My  father did not discuss his vote, either before or after an election. His political leanings were his business, and he didn’t even engage in political discussions. I know he discussed issues with my mother, but she was about the only one. I’m pretty sure he voted a straight Democratic ticket, but I can’t swear to it.

My mother was more of an Independent, at least in 1960. She preferred Richard Nixon for president, but she liked Lyndon Johnson for vice-president. That required her to vote for men from opposing political parties for the top two positions. She said she was going to split the ticket. At the age of nine, I imagined her taking a pair of scissors into the voting booth and cutting the ballot into two strips.

If enough voters had followed her lead, we could have ended up with Richard Nixon and LBJ governing the country together. How I’d love to have seen that partnership.

I just realized that the phrase split the ticket still conjures up a vision of Mother holding her sewing scissors.

I guess it’s like Bringing in the Sheep and Jesus the Cross-Eyed Bear. And Up on the housetop, reindeer paws. No matter how hard you try to banish them, some things just stick.

###

It’s nearly one a.m. in my area of the United States. I’ve been home for about twelve hours. The writing is slow (a fact that shouldn’t surprise me). That could pose a problem.

This post is time-sensitive–it won’t have much oomph after the results have been announced. And if the world already knows, I’ll have to go back and change all my tenses.

  But for the past twelve hours I’ve neither turned on the television nor googled.  I know nothing about what’s happening outside this room. And if I know nothing, my tenses can stay the same. Where ignorance is bliss, etc. Now back to the referendum.

English: Greybeard Heather Dew Scotch Whisky
English: Greybeard Heather Dew Scotch Whisky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both sides have concerns about the future of an independent Scotland. CNN Money lists five reasons to worry:  the currency mess; the debt debate; oil rights; the effect on the financial industry (the Royal Bank of Scotland is threatening to move headquarters to England [If it does, will it have to change its name?]); and the country’s relationship to the European Union. Or, to condense things a bit, one reason to worry: money. The Scotch Whisky Association expresses concern about financial repercussions of independence, but so far there’s been no indication whisky makers will move south. (If they move to England, will it still qualify as Scotch?)

My concern is less weighty, but I’ve been obsessing about it anyway. If Scotland leaves the UK, will the Union Jack have to be redesigned? That’s a beautiful flag, “the Cross of St. Andrew counterchanged with the Cross of St. Patrick, over all the Cross of St. George.” Each country is represented. It means something. The designer was a genius.

Back to the referendum. Actor James McAvoy, who, for the good of his career, kept his opinion to himself, expressed the gravity of the choice:

 

“This is the first time in years a developed country has talked about splitting up and it’s a massive thing,” he said. “If you vote for a president or a prime minister based on political or economic issues and they don’t deliver, that’s not so bad – you can protest four years down the line and vote them out. If you vote for continued unification or independence there is no protest vote – that’s it. And that could be it for decades, for centuries.”

 Centuries. That’s what makes this such a grand process. Scotland has been part of the Union for hundreds of years. Today’s decision will affect that it and the countries it separates from far into the future. And the question is settled not by soldiers on a battlefield but peacefully, by individuals at the ballot box.

   I don’t want to descend into the mire of sentiment. I’m best at detachment, standing a safe distance from the subject, letting irony handle things.

   But, putting irony aside, isn’t what happened in Scotland today remarkable?

   Not as remarkable as the 1994 election in South Africa in 1994, the first in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part.

   But remarkable nonetheless.

  And not just Scotland. The other countries behaved remarkably, too.  After all, the English could have dressed up like Birnam Wood and marched right up the hill to Dunsinane and put a stop to the whole troublesome business.

There are probably laws and ordinances in place to prevent the English from doing any such thing, but if you’ll suspend disbelief for the length of the previous paragraph and, for the sake of the post, just imagine Birnam Wood marching up that hill . . . It could happen . . . There’s precedent. It wouldn’t be the first time Scotland was invaded by trees.

  I should have published this well before midnight, but because I set my own deadlines, I’m free to shuffle them around as I please. Blogging should generate pleasure, not stress.

 I’ll end by saying I’ve always been fascinated by the British Isles, and especially Scotland. I’ve said dozens of times, and will continue to say, that if my ancestors had just stayed put, I might be living–and voting–there now. My one visit there was too brief. I love the weather. I was not designed to live in Texas heat and drought. I dream of going back and seeing more of the country, standing in the mist and the rain, eating haggis (I liked it.), and listening to the beautiful, musical brogues.

And when I’m a rich and famous author, I shall pack up the cats and my husband and fly over (all of us first class) and while the cats are in quarantine, I’ll find and purchase a croft with some pigs and chickens and sheep and a pony and some dogs and central heating and A/C, because you never know when the weather will turn, and learn to dance the Highland Fling, and sit amongst the heather and write more best sellers and rake in the dough and get a flat in London and every year go to Bloody Scotland and sit at the bar hobnobbing with other famous writers and drinking Scotch. Unless I discover I don’t like Scotch. I haven’t tried it yet.

  But I’m not going to get rich and famous or anything else but tired, sitting up till five a.m. to indulge myself by composing rambling, stream-of-consciousness blog posts.

  The end.

Going Over the Fiscal Cliff: Denim or Silk?

Diane Sawyer
Diane Sawyer (Photo credit: asterix611)

Since early November, when the media shifted focus from the presidential election to the next crisis, David’s favorite television show has been the evening news. To him, it’s comedy. Every time Diane Sawyer says “fiscal cliff,” he roars with laughter.

I haven’t laughed. The prospect of going over a cliff is scary. At first, the mere mention of John Boehner’s name gave me the fantods. But after being bombarded–fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff— over and over, on local news, network news, PBS News Hour, day after day for nearly two months, I became jaded. While David sat in the living room and guffawed, I muttered, Que sera, sera, and kept on chopping onions.

But two days ago, while rummaging through purpleborough’s blog, I stumbled upon this sentence: Nevertheless, I must decide what I am going to wear going over the fiscal cliff.

And I realized my error. The fiscal cliff isn’t something to dismiss with a chuckle. There’s a lot to be done before midnight. I haven’t decided what I’ll wear either.

At the top of the list is whether I can go with just the clothes on my back, or whether I’ll need a suitcase. What about toiletries? Cosmetics? I will take a lipstick–I always take a lipstick, because I think other people feel better when I wear it–but what about eye shadow? Will I be able to find my manicurist after we’ve gone over? Because he’s all booked up today.

I’ll have to take shampoo, conditioner, brush, dryer, curling iron. Millions of people will be going over that cliff. I’ll take several bars of deodorant soap. I hope everybody does.

Packing would be easier if I knew what’s at the bottom of the fiscal cliff. If a river’s down there, I would wear my bathing suit, but for anything else, denim is more serviceable. My jeans have gotten a little scruffy, so if there’s mud, they’ll do fine. It would be a shame for my good black slacks to get dirty. I want to wear them to dinner later with my with my new red cowl-necked sweater. I hope there’s mud. For that matter, I hope there’s dinner.

What will Diane Sawyer wear going over the fiscal cliff?

The probability of a hard landing means I’ll have to take the travel first-aid kit I picked up at Target last year. Gauze and antibacterial ointment can come in awfully handy. Plus mosquito repellent. Anti-itch cream. Aspirin, ibuprofen. Cough drops. A couple of Ace bandages for wrapping sprained ankles. Ichthyol for mesquite thorns. Moleskin for blisters (I assume we will not be met by a string of limos). Sunscreen, hat.

Books. I don’t go anywhere without books.

Laptop, notebook, pens, index cards. I assume there will be WiFi somewhere in the vicinity of the landing site. Mouse. Camera and USB cable. Flash drive. Printer and paper? I might be able to print at a library. Are there libraries over the fiscal cliff?

Cats. I can’t go without the cats. I won’t go without the cats. Neither will David. But he’ll have to deal with them. They’re so heavy that every time I pick up one of the carriers, I throw my back out.

Insurance cards, passport, driver’s license, birth certificate. Purpleborough thinks we won’t need any form of ID, but I’m going to take what I have. If we get down there and they change their minds, we’ll probably need ID to get back up.

It’s obvious I’m going at this haphazardly. There’s so much to do and so little time in which to do it. If you see anything I’ve missed, please leave a comment. If you’ll do the same thing for Purpleborough, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

I have to go now and do a load of laundry. I was going to make peanut butter sandwiches to carry along, but I’ve decided against it. The one thing I’m sure of is this: even at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, we’re bound to find a McDonald’s.

Before I go, let me be clear: I’m not complaining about going over the fiscal cliff–I want to do my part, just like everyone else–but if we go over and then they tell us to turn around and come back, I expect transportation to be provided. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Mules will do. I just don’t think I should have to scale the fiscal cliff under my own steam. There’s too much stuff to carry.