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Wed April 27, 2011
A Royal Family for Michigan?
Earlier this week, I was talking with a battle-hardened senior TV producer in her fifties who I don‘t think of as a romantic.
“I have to cancel a meeting Thursday night,” she told me. “I have to be up by 4:30 on Friday.”
“Are you catching an early flight?” I asked. “No.” she said. “I have to watch the royal wedding.”
Thanks to the time difference, monarchical devotees who want to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton exchange vows live will have to rise before dawn.
I was impressed by that, and remember thirty years ago, when a similar wave of pan-royal excitement swept our nation when Charles and Diana were married. And then suddenly I realized that we’ve been sitting on a solution to a lot of our problems, both in this state and the nation. We need a royal family, and we’ve got the perfect candidate right here in Michigan.
I’m being perfectly serious.
Yes, I know we revolted against Great Britain long ago, and made a great fetish over not having a king. But in fact, we are mad for royalty.
The lack of our own royals has had harmful social consequences. Not our wistful fascination with the British royal family, though that’s clearly a telling symptom. No, with no royals of our own, and with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in her grave, we instead obsess over the private life of the likes of Madonna.
And we put unfair pressure on our political leaders to both do their jobs and be some kind of comic book royalty at the same time.
We see this most vividly in our fascination with our presidents’ private lives.
Closer to home, Michiganders even permitted Jennifer Granholm’s husband to style himself “The First Gentleman,” and set up the trappings of office without laughing him out of town.
But tell me this. What do you know about the private life of British Prime Minister David Cameron? I’d guess not much, and most Britons don’t either, probably to his relief. He can go about his business, and the people have the royals to obsess over.
Years ago, I thought we might have two alternating houses in this nation, with the Kennedys the designated royals when the Democrats were in and the Reagans when the Republicans took over, but neither of those families are what they used to be. So let me suggest something better:
We immediately adopt the Fords as our royal family. Michigan first, and then the nation. Frankly, the Fords are perfect. Any good royal house should be able to trace its origins to a heroic deed, and it was King Henry I who put America on wheels.
In true kingly fashion, he then tragically hounded his only son to death before Henry the Second, aka Hank the Deuce, restored the family’s honor and prestige.
Since then the Fords have produced philanthropists and drunks, shrewd men and fools, sometimes in the same person.
Not only do we need this, our state’s coffers will swell with money from all those who come to make royal pilgrimages.
This has a lot more economic potential than trying to cut teacher benefits. Believe me, think about the House of Ford.
I really do believe it’s a better idea.