The Brits

You have to credit the Brits: They have a series of wonderful national songs to sing and they love nothing better than to stand in the rain and belt out the words. We in America, stuck with an unsingable national anthem, do our best to struggle through "God Bless America" at the ballpark, but while the song is singable, it lacks the uumph of "Land of Hope and Glory" or "Rule, Brittania." Of course, as a Catholic, "Rule, Brittania" is not my favorite song, mindful that when the lyrics proclaim, "Britons never shall be slaves" they were not expressing the concern that eighteenth century Britons might wake up the next morning and be black and indentured. No, the idea was that Britons were free and Protestant, unlike the slaves in France who had an absolute monarch and a popish church.

But, I do have one pet peeve. In the chorus, there is a command not a description. It is not "Brittania rules the waves." It is Brittania rule the waves!" There is no "s" at the end of "rule." But, with or without the "s," there is something about the sight of a million Brits waving their Union Jacks, standing in the rain waiting for the Queen to come out onto her balcony, singing "Rule, Brittania" that is quite stirring.

Okay, I have a second pet peeve. I have no issues with constitutional monarchy. If I were a Brit I would not be a republican. But, listening to Piers Morgan for five minutes might make me one. The other day he asked if Queen Elizabeth II would go down in history as the greatest monarch of all time. This betrays an ignorance of history that is breathtaking.


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