Agony in England or Reason #100988876 for Summorum Pontificum

P.A.I.N.F.U.L…..

To all my readers across the pond and elsewhere… I am so very sorry.

[Sorry about the vile ad, as well.]

UPDATE:

I am trying to think of a light-hearted analogy.

In the spirit of my baseball/cricket analogy at the time of Universae Ecclesiae….

Imagine that Her Majesty is visiting Chicago.

She would, in the natural course of events, go to Wrigley Field for ballgame.

She would without question be invited to introduce “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at the 7th inning stretch.

But, not being familiar with the way things are done at The Friendly Confines, after a rousing “A-one… a-two…” – and she has already perfected the wave that could go with it – she then makes a speech while everyone starts singing the necessary song.

Embarrassing, I know.

Cub Nation would certainly be indulgent about this, but it would be a major ettiquette gaff on the part of those who prepped Her Majesty for the Big Moment.

“At Wrigely, Ma’am, it is the custom to introduce the song and then, sing along rather than make a speech. Here is a card with the words.  No, Ma’am.  I’ll take but a minute.”

Meanwhile, the other side of the Atlantic in England, the White House protocol aide or someone from the embassy should be saying something like,

“Mr. President (Oh live forever!), when they toast the Queen around here, they, you know, say it, you know, ‘The Queen’ and all that and then, like, shut up, you know?  Then they, like, play ‘My Country ‘Tis Of Thee and you’re all quite and stuff and then… No… Sorry, Mr. President (Oh live forever!) I’m not  saying ‘shut up’ to you… No…. Of course, Mr. President, I, they….  Talk all you want, Mr. President (Oh live forever!). “

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113 Responses to Agony in England or Reason #100988876 for Summorum Pontificum

  1. Geoffrey says:

    That hurt to watch! The palace needs to send him a protocol sheet.

  2. James Joseph says:

    That’s almost as bad as watching woman turn down a proposal for marriage.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    At 0:40, the President of the United States does his famous frown.

  4. EWTN Rocks says:

    I’m sorry, I must have a strange sense of humor – I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair!

  5. bmccoy says:

    Why did he continue to speak after the music began? I don’t think I’ve ever felt so awkward, especially noting that he is representing our entire nation. I just hope that the Queen was very forgiving of him. Perhaps she is still very happy with her iPod and felt she owed him a favor? Whatever happened, watching this certainly makes me feel very uncomfortable.

  6. JSBSJ says:

    As a Canadian, I might interject: The toast to the queen is always ‘to the Queen.’ There is nothing more added, nothing less. Simply, let us raise our glasses for a toast: ‘to the Queen.’

    The music began exactly as it should. The present went on longer than was anticipated… in any country in the Commonwealth.

  7. The Cobbler says:

    I know this is cheap, but: Wasn’t this President supposed to be a great orator?

  8. KellyO says:

    I really thought that the music was added by ABC News so I didn’t know what the big deal was (other than my physical repulsion at hearing his voice) When he FINALLY stopped talking, I understood – yikes!

  9. APX says:

    As another Canadian, I’ll have to agree with JSBSJ. Perhaps he should have Googled it beforehand. The Loyal Toast is on there, and is also taught in Toastmasters.

  10. O come on. I will mach no one in my negative views of the incombent. But he didn’t write that toast. It was some chancery clerk. Have we really fallen to the level of the Democratic mockers, for whom any public action by the opposite party president is automatically folly or stupid or treason?

    And frankly, as my Jacobite ancestors who fled Britain for New York in the late 1600s, would have said: to the KING across the water (now in Bavaria). NOT to the Hanoverian claimants!

  11. digdigby says:

    Heck, I’ve seen enough old movies to know the protocol! What scares me is not that he’s so clueless but that he doesn’t even know enough to surround himself with savvy people to protect him. I’m surprised he didn’t bolt for the exits like kids in Britain used to at the end of a movie so they wouldn’t have to stand for G.S.T.K/Q

  12. Jason Keener says:

    I really admire Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. What an example of grace and perseverance for so many decades. There really is something to be said for the continuity of a hereditary monarchy and its importance to a nation. Many in the United States blast anything having to do with monarchy as ridiculous and outdated but fail to recognize that the United States is really no better in that we continuously elect the same elite buffoons (i.e., Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys, et al.) decade after decade who are bought and paid for by special interests. Pray tell, how is that any better than monarchy? God Save the Queen! God also save us from a second Obama term!

  13. Former Altar Boy says:

    Theguy is handicapped without a teleprompter; he can’t even make a toast without reading off cue cards!

  14. wanda says:

    I wonder what the Queen must think of our President. She graciously keeps that to herself. Wasn’t it one of the first things our President did upon being elected to wrap up a bust of Winston Churchill and say to send that thing back to England? How rude and insulting to our ally. (I hope they are still an ally.)

  15. EXCHIEF says:

    Hey you are all missing the point. It isn’t about the Queen, or England. It’s all about the little self loving president of the United States. And besides, as we all learned yesterday he’s part Irish. What a clown.

  16. EWTN Rocks says:

    wanda,

    It’s hard to tell from the clip but I bet the Queen really admires the President. Despite this mixup, it’s clear from articles I’ve read that she firmly believes he has many wonderful traits, and fully supports him.

  17. justamouse says:

    Too painful to watch.

  18. Prof. Basto says:

    Given that the toast is simply “to the Queen”, when your President said “to Her Majesty the Queen” and paused, the guys in the band tought that the toast was over and started the British National Anthem, “God save the Queen”.

    Even if the President had further remarks planned (the part quoting Shakespeare and the second reference to the Queen), he should not have continued uttering them while the host country’s National Anthem was being played; it is basic that you don’t speak during the playing of a National Anthem. And the speech could well have ended without the parts that were added after the music had started.

  19. jesusthroughmary says:

    It didn’t occur to me until Her Majesty refused to acknowledge the President that the anthem was actually being played live. I guess I’m so used to YouTube videos with artificially imposed soundtracks for the sake of humor that I can no longer process raw feed as such.

  20. Joseph says:

    Poor guy, I do feel sorry for him. And if he would have read some English literature in his youth instead of silly comics, he might have known what to do.

  21. anna 6 says:

    That was awkward…

    The president’s protocol manager is to blame here. He or she should know better. (A quick thinking POTUS might have stopped the bleeding, though.)

    Who can forget the over-the-top veil worn by the usually elegant Mrs. Obama when they met Pope Benedict at the vatican? (The cynic in me wondered at the time if that faux pas was actually intended to underscore the medieval attitude of the church).

  22. PatrickJude says:

    That’s the problem when he doesn’t have access to a TelePrompTer to prompt him to stop.. You can actually see the Duke of Edinburgh smirking away… What one wouldn’t wish to be privy to the Royal Family’s private conversation after.. bearing in mind HM the Queen has a great sense of humour and love to mimic foreign guests ;-)

  23. Cazienza says:

    As a Brit…oh, I giggled! Well all right I hid behind my hands and snorted. It did sound rather dramatically film-y, though, really quite American (if you’ll pardon my ignorance).

    Yes, protocol is very important; but people make mistakes. I suspect Mr. Obama and his entourage have had so much to think about over the past few days that that something like this didn’t get triple-checked…well, it’s happened now. I wonder how embarrassed he must have felt afterwards! I hope (am pretty sure) he personally apologised to her afterwards, and I hope (am pretty sure) she was gracious enough to put him at ease about it.

    My personal take on protocol (and rubrics ;)) is that it’s there to be followed (in the case of rubrics, with all the more serious consequences if they’re duffed up), but because it’s carried out by living human beings, it’s going to be a living human activity – and mistakes will be made. This was surely an opportunity to learn and show some humility, manners and grace, and I’m sure Mr. Obama and Her Majesty made use of it :)

    Has anyone here seen the unhappy video of a new parish priest in a troubled part of France trying to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal, and really not having much of a clue, to the point where the congregation needed to help him out? Now that was something – whilst perhaps also an honest mistake – much more serious, and really very painful to watch (hope this isn’t a rabbit hole, Fr. Z).

  24. pelerin says:

    Watching the faces on those around I have to admit I burst out laughing (and I am English) and felt very sorry for the President. His toast was impressive and it is a pity that the band were not told that he would be giving an extended toast. It would have been kinder to their guest to have waited until he had finished so as not to embarrass him in this way.

    Except for important functions such as Royal dinners we are a lot more relaxed with the National Anthem now than during my childhood. If we were watching a Royal event on the school television and the anthem was played we all had to stand up. And it used to be played when television closed down at night and at the end of every film in the cinema too. As a teenager I remember the mad rush by us youngsters to get out before the anthem! If we only made it to the aisle we had to stay there until it was over.

    Cazienza mentions the far more serious attempt by a Priest to celebrate the EF in France – I saw the video and this was indeed painful to watch. He faced the tiny congregation and tried to read out of his hand missal. Blog commenters could not make up their minds whether it was an EF or an OF it was so confusing. A once thriving parish has been cut down due to the removal of its much loved Priest by their Bishop for reasons which remain obscure.

  25. Colm says:

    Who cares?? These reactions show 2 things. 1) your utter hatred of Obama, you never miss a chance to take a swipe at him.[No, no, no. I can assure you that I pass over many opportunities to take a swipe at him.] And 2) that you are all a bunch of Anglophiles; the Queen is just another person, she does not deserve any more respect, in fact seeing as what was done to the Irish under watch, she deserves less. [Because the Queen controls UK foreign policy, right? Ridiculous.]

  26. Mundabor says:

    This is so Obama….

    when the music starts, he must have thought how they dare to interrupt him. It’s clear he thought that his majesty (=himself) was being offended there. That he might have got it wrong evidently doesn’t enter his mind all the time.

    I think the truth dawned on him when the Queen refused to answer to the toast, not one second before.

    This is what happens when a nation elects a President because of the colour of his skin…

    Mundabor

  27. @ Fr. Augustine.

    Youa re so right, and the only reason Victoria (actually it was more her mother, the Duchess, than anyone else) claimed England because Hanover being Salic land she coudn’t ascend to that throne.

  28. Okay, I know I’ve oversimplified the race for a successor and everything else, but still.

  29. @ jesusthroughmary

    The reason the Queen didn’t say anything is because the Anthem was playing. The stance is staright and silent. She couldn’t speak. Even if the President didn’t know that the toast was simpler, he should know that when the host country’s anthem, or anycountry’s anthem is sounded, shut up

  30. pelerin says:

    Looking at a couple of websites of two main daily newspapers in England I see that one does not yet even mention the embarassing incident at all although there are several photographs shown of the banquet. And the other mentions it briefly saying that it is being exaggerated in America as a way of criticising president Obama. More mention here has been given to the President signing a register with the wrong date.

  31. tperegrinus says:

    Bazza, you’re a bloody goose.

  32. Jon says:

    Father Augustine,

    “Have we really fallen to the level of the Democratic mockers, for whom any public action by the opposite party president is automatically folly or stupid or treason?”

    No quarter. These people are champions of tyranny, sodomy and the unspeakable slaughter of infants. Every one of them.

    No quarter. None. Ever.

  33. Mariana says:

    Oh dear, he never drank her toast, just put his glass down (as the Queen did, but of course one doesn’t drink one’s own toast). It was very kind of her so lift her glass as soon as she possible could.

  34. PAT says:

    @Colm: “[T]he Queen is just another person, she does not deserve any more respect. . . ”

    Most of the rest of the Royal Family may be another case, but the Queen deserves a great deal of respect, and especially from us Americans after 9/11. (My bold.)

    September 21, 2001

    The British Daily Mail newspaper . . . One of the latest has the Queen on the front. Looking very sad, she is pictured at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral for a memorial service for the attack victims of Sept. 11, the day that someday could be known as “the day that was the beginning of the end.”

    Inside, there is another picture of the Queen wiping at an eye, and the article goes that she sang the American national anthem when it was played, adding that the Queen does not sing national anthems . . .

    Her Majesty is a rarity in the modern world: she is a truly gracious and genuine lady.

  35. Gail F says:

    I hardly think this is a big deal. Obviously someone should have told him not to do that — and he has had problems with his protocol person before. Wasn’t there some sort of dustup about a Chinese performer singing an anti-American or anti-Allies song in the White House? As I remember it, nobody checked what song it was, and it was in Chinese so they couldn’t tell the words. Anyway, it is surprising that “Mr. Citizen of the World” doesn’t have the toast protocol down, but there are plenty of real things to worry about.

  36. Joe in Canada says:

    some clerk might have written it, although I suspect that he like just about anybody else in that situation thought he could impress everyone with a quotation from Shakespeare. What strikes me is that he doesn’t actually drink from his glass, leaving Her Majesty the awkward duty of showing him what to do by raising her glass when she herself is being toasted.

  37. lethargic says:

    Gosh, it’s a rare condition, but I actually feel sorry for the guy. The toast itself was very nice … his protocol people have long been known as incompetent … the British national anthem is known as a patriotic but not hallowed song in the US “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” … he was reading from an unfamiliar paper, not his buddy Tele … he looked like he was really working hard at it, then he realized way too late that he was the doof in the room … yah, I feel sorry for him. He does not belong in his position, poor sod.

  38. Andy Milam says:

    Ummm….ok….

    The Great Orator….my 9 year old nephew….could have saidthatspeach….wiiiith thesame taMBOR as the President ofthe ah UnitedStates….

    Right….to all members of the “global community,” I am sorry. To the citizens of Great Britian, I’m truly sorry. To the citizens of the United States, I hope you’ve learned your lesson. I didn’t vote for him.

    Yes, that is vitriol. I don’t like him Sam I am. I don’t like him with Green Eggs and Ham. I think that President Obama is a SHAM. There is nothing good coming he who believes he is “I AM WHO AM.”

    Sheesh.

  39. digdigby says:

    Hey, give him a break. He’s Irish and had been drinking.

  40. Father K says:

    Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy!

  41. Jason C. says:

    I watched the video and I didn’t notice anything “awkward.” I had to read the comments in this thread to get what’s supposed to be awkward. I guess I’m too American to get it.

    Other states indicate themselves in their deputies … but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors … but always most in the common people. Their manners, speech, dress, friendship—the freshness and candor of their physiognomy—the picturesque looseness of their carriage … their deathless attachment to freedom—their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean—the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states—the fierceness of their roused resentment—their curiosity and welcome of novelty—their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy—their susceptibility to a slight—the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors—the fluency of their speech—their delight in music, the sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul … their good temper and open handedness—the terrible significance of their elections—the President’s taking off his hat to them, not they to him—these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.

    –Walt Whitman, Preface to “Leaves of Grass”

  42. benedetta says:

    I sense a conspiracy theory coming on…wait for it…

    And, somewhere an underling will be dusting off his or her resume…

  43. mezzodiva54 says:

    I’m an American, but I too was shocked when the toast went on longer than “To the queen”. As Anna 6 says, however, this was not the guy’s fault — someone dropped the ball here. There are protocol folk on both sides who should have prepared him for this, shocking that it didn’t happen.

  44. Centristian says:

    Summorum Pontificum? I doubt this would have been any less painful to watch had the toast been in Latin. In fact, had the President stuck to the “ordinary form” of the toast, this embarrassing moment wouldn’t have happened. [Clever. However, it is the Extraordinary Form that doesn't allow ad libbing. But my main point was about the widespread loss of decorum.]

    At the White House, the custom at a state dinner is for the heads of state to make somewhat lengthy toasts to one another. Elizabeth II, when visiting the White House, has followed suit, offering toasts to her presidential hosts similar to the toast the President offered the Queen in this video. But that isn’t a custom peculiar to the White House: it’s pretty universal. Obviously, the President imagined that the usual diplomatic custom would obtain at the palace. And obviously, the protocol people at Buckingham Palace didn’t do their job and inform the White House of a rather different custom.

    That the President did not stop once he heard the music playing is probably explainable by one of two possibilities:

    a. He wasn’t paying attention and imagined the band was simply playing lovely music to serve as a background for the toast (the anthem was played like dinner music, after all).

    b. Being an American, the President did not hear “God Save the Queen”, but “America” (“My Country ‘Tis of Thee”) and assumed it was played to accompany his toast.

    I know that it is customary for British subjects to toast the Queen with the simple formula “The Queen” while raising a glass (but never “clinking” it). In Her Majesty’s presence, the playing of “God Save the Queen” follows (whenever feasible). The fact of the matter, however, is that the president of the United States is not a subject of the British Monarch, and, in my opinion, should not be asked or expected to toast the Queen in the same deferential way that a British (or Commonwealth) subject would. The more usually observed diplomatic custom should apply in the case of a visiting head of state.

    If I were the president of the United States–the renowned leader of the Free World, the true political “patriarch of the West”–and the anachronistic figurehead British Queen were to so absurdly spurn my gracious toast in favour of upholding a quaint British after-dinner tradition, I would see to it that she received the same treatment the next time she was entertained at the White House. Beginning her toast, foll0wing the words “Mr. President”, the Marine Corps Band would be instructed to interrupt with “Hail to the Chief”. I would then continue to look straight ahead, my family smirking at her faux pas, as she turned to me with her glass.

    The Sovereign, as the personification of the State, is worthy of every deference from her British and Commonwealth subjects. But she is not owed the same by the president of the United States. If anything, the reverse is true.

  45. EWTN Rocks says:

    Jason C., thanks for your post – I thoroughly love and enjoy Walt Whitman

  46. Henry Edwards says:

    Centristian: “That the President did not stop once he heard the music playing is probably explainable by one of two possibilities: “

    I suspect that, instead of those possibilities, it was because when his majesty is speaking, he hears only the beloved sound of his own voice.

  47. Corinne says:

    I’m with Jason C. I didn’t get it either. I didn’t understand what was awkward until I read the comments on here. I think for Americans, hearing someone speak over music isn’t awkward at all…in fact it’s very “dramatic”…very Hollywood! LOL!

  48. EWTN Rocks says:

    This is a great thread and would like to provide additional thoughts but have to run (not good to be late for work)

  49. LisaP. says:

    Here’s how uncouth I am, all I could focus on like the poster above was that he didn’t drink after he toasted. Was there a reason for this I don’t get? I thought the drinking sealed the deal on the toast? Or is that just the Irish in me?

    Seeing glasses picked up and put down over and over without sips taken made me think poisoning was suspected, a la Princess Bride. . .

    This is awkward, but the Clintons had several incidents where staffers should have instructed them on basic rules of other “cultures” — most notably President Clinton taking communion at a Catholic Mass. That struck me as disrespectful. This just struck me as goofy. I agree President Obama probably thought they were providing “God Bless America” background music for his speech, Americans live with a soundtrack in their heads. .

  50. nanetteclaret says:

    It is breathtaking that the pres_ent made TWO mistakes in ONE day. First signing the date wrong in the guest book at Westminster Abbey. Not the wrong day, not the wrong month, the wrong YEAR. And not 2010, but 2008! This is the person who has control of our “nuclear football!” And it happend at the same time that Bibi Netanyahu was giving an awesome, statesman-like speech to the joint session of Congress. Such a huge contrast between these two people. And where was Mr. Netanyahu’s State Dinner? The pres__ent can manage to be at one given for him, but he can’t manage to host one for one of our staunchest allies? I find this whole scenario to be indicative of his entire pres__ency. Grossly incompetent.

  51. Divine Praises says:

    As an Englishman, I watched the clip and thought “Oops” but nothing more. I think some commentators are reading more into the minor slip than actually occurred (I certainly didn’t see the Duke of Edinburgh smirking). In any case, The Queen has seen far worse things during her reign and would certainly be too concerned for her guest’s welfare to make fun of him or take offence at his simple mistake.

    Has anyone else heard the anecdote (probably apocryphal but I’ll repeat it anyway) of the state banquet at Buckingham Palace where the visiting head of state was so nervous that he drank some water from the finger bowls that had been provided? When The Queen saw his faux pas, she promptly picked up her finger bowl and drank from it. Now, that’s the way to behave.

  52. EWTN Rocks says:

    LisaP.

    From what I understand, President Obama is deluged with so much information about custom and protocol that he can’t see the forest through the trees. I’m sure if he had received clear instructions from his staffers he would have known and respected that drinking sealed the deal on the toast.

  53. Mundabor says:

    Come on,

    whatever mistake might have occurred, whatever blunder, whatever misunderstanding, **when the national anthem plays you just shut up**. But no, he had to go on and on…..

    I can’t imagine even Berlusconi behaving in such a way…….
    well perhaps Berlusconi, but truly no one else.

    Mundabor

  54. irishgirl says:

    Oh, my….I couldn’t watch the rest of it.
    Where’s a protocol officer when you need him?
    Well, at least Her Majesty didn’t roll her eyes at Obama’s faux-pas. She’s probably seen enough of them in her reign, anyway.

  55. irishgirl says:

    PAT-I remember what the Queen did at Buckingham Palace on 9/11, when she ordered the playing of our National Anthem at the Changing of the Guard ceremony. It was very moving to watch the American tourists standing at the gates with tears in their eyes.
    Thank you, Your Majesty, for being such a good friend to us Americans, through thick and thin!

  56. Tom Ryan says:

    10 X more embarrassing than W strutting thru the Apostolic Palace nodding and uttering “how y’all doin’” to the passing purple. [Do you have a video of that? I don't recall that that is what he did.]

  57. gloriainexcelsis says:

    When a president surrounds himself with people who have little regard for history, tradition, and true allegiance to their own country’s ceremonies, let alone an ever staunch ally, what can we expect? If he has a department of protocol, the people responsible for his actions and demeanor in foreign countries probably don’t care enough to see that he doesn’t commit gaffes. He is the representative of the faux elite. Whatever he does or says is just fine. It’s the foreign dignitaries that must accept his behavior. He is, after all, the superior being – except when he bows to – well, you know. The lame excuses always follow hard and fast.

  58. shane says:

    ROFL! That was hilarious. Ah well, these mistakes happen — and I’m sure she’s seen much, much worse.

  59. Next time, just bow.

  60. Centristian says:

    “Well, at least Her Majesty didn’t roll her eyes at Obama’s faux-pas.”

    Whose faux-pas? Expecting the president of the United States to offer the “loyal toast” to the Queen, in the manner of a British subject? That’s Buckingham Palace’s ridiculous faux-pas, not the President’s. The President did everything correctly and offered a perfectly charming toast.

    The error in protocol (for which Her Majesty may be pardoned, she is fallible after all) was committed by the Queen, who should have known better than to expect the President to offer her a subject’s “loyal toast” as opposed to the diplomatic toast of one head of state to another. Once she realized that the President was offering her the sort of toast that he would be expected to offer her, she should have turned to him at once, acknowledging his kind toast, regardless of what was being played by the band in error.

    I’m sure the Queen’s Brittanic Majesty became confused, at that moment, wondering whether she should acknowledge the President’s toast, or remain at attention for the duration of her country’s national anthem. She opted for the latter, whereas had she thought it through more carefully, she ought to have done the former. But we all make mistakes, and the Queen should not be too severly criticised for her flub. I think it was, finally, the band’s fault for interrupting the Leader of the Free World in mid-toast.

    Whatever the case, the President should never offer a “loyal toast” to any foreign head of state, and were I in his shoes, I would have done exactly what he did, only on purpose.

  61. Andy Milam says:

    @ Tom Ryan:

    “10 X more embarrassing than W strutting thru the Apostolic Palace nodding and uttering “how y’all doin’” to the passing purple.”

    You couldn’t possibly mean this video…for it is the only one I could find…

  62. bmadamsberry says:

    It not a failure on the part of the President, it is a failure on the part of his staff. His people should have prepped him better.

    In the grand scheme of things, however, it’s such a small thing. There are many faux pas by Heads of State when they visit other locations. Let’s not forget Bush winking at the queen, joking about her age, or telling her that he was the black sheep of the family and asking who her’s was. At least in the case of Obama is was the fault of his staff, whereas the just cited Bush example was just unsophisticated.

    I would, however, like to note that Obama has had more faux pas with the Royal Family in almost 4 years that Bush had in 8 years. 1)Michelle hugged the Queen; 2) Mrs. Clinton sent a Happy Birthday to the Queen… a week early; 3) Michelle forgot to wear a hat (though not a faux pas, many women have been blasted for not wearing a hat at particular occasions); 4) Obama’s gift to Prime Minister Brown of a set of DVDs… which were not compatible to the DVD players in the U.K. (okay, not the Royal Family); 5) This toast.

  63. Tom Ryan says:

    Andy:

    No, not that one. That one is actually pretty good.

  64. Peggy R says:

    Where are the protocol experts for this administration? Do the O’s listen to their advisors? And how about some fashion sense for the Missus, too. Some things are attractive, I must say, but she too often wears shiny silk during the day. It seems more suitable for evening soirees. The teeny-bopper pouffy skirts, with little sweaters are terrible. I think bright colors often look good on her, though they are often worn at inappropriate times,ie, the awarding of post-humus medals for military.

    One person commented on Mrs. O’s mantilla when meeting the Holy Father. I thought that was the one occasion where Mrs. O was most appropriately dressed hands down. She even looked lovely and demure. If the Vatican did not have strict protocol what on earth would we have seen on her?

  65. wmeyer says:

    Colm –
    Who cares?? These reactions show 2 things. 1) your utter hatred of Obama, you never miss a chance to take a swipe at him. And 2) that you are all a bunch of Anglophiles; the Queen is just another person, she does not deserve any more respect, in fact seeing as what was done to the Irish under watch, she deserves less

    Your opinion notwithstanding, heads of state are expected to follow recognized protocol. The White House has one or more people responsible to instruct the president in such matters, to avoid just such embarrassing scenes as this. It is irrelevant what anyone thinks of the Queen as a person, she is the head of state, and just as we expect respect to be shown to the office of president, no matter what fool may be in residence, Britons have the right to expect the same with regard to their head of state.

    Perhaps as he was rejecting the loan of the Churchill bust, Obama also discharged the folks in the office of protocol. It would have been stupid to do so, but would at least give him an excuse for an otherwise most embarrassing blunder.

  66. Centristian says:

    bmadamsberry:

    You charged that, “Obama has had more faux pas with the Royal Family in almost 4 years that Bush had in 8 years.” Then you itemized those alleged faux pas of the President:

    1. “Michelle hugged the Queen;”

    No, she didn’t; the First Lady simply put her hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder blade. At any rate, Mrs. Obama is not President Obama.

    2. “Mrs. Clinton sent a Happy Birthday to the Queen… a week early.”

    How is a week early a flub? A week late, surely. At any rate, Mrs. Clinton is not President Obama.

    3. “Michelle forgot to wear a hat (though not a faux pas, many women have been blasted for not wearing a hat at particular occasions);”

    It is not the custom of American women to wear hats as English women do. The First Lady is under no expectation to wear a hat in any setting. But, once again, the First Lady is not President Obama.

    4. “Obama’s gift to Prime Minister Brown of a set of DVDs… which were not compatible to the DVD players in the U.K. (okay, not the Royal Family);”

    Gordon Brown is not a member of the Royal Family.

    5. “This toast.”

    The President’s toast was wholly appropriate; if he was expected to give a subject’s “loyal toast” to the Queen rather than a head of state’s toast to his host, then the faux pas was that of Buckingham Palace. The band’s interruption of the President’s toast was another faux pas, and the Queen’s delay in responding to the President’s toast was yet another faux pas. The President, however, did nothing wrong.

    2) Mrs. Clinton sent a Happy Birthday to the Queen… a week early; 3) Michelle forgot to wear a hat (though not a faux pas, many women have been blasted for not wearing a hat at particular occasions); 4) Obama’s gift to Prime Minister Brown of a set of DVDs… which were not compatible to the DVD players in the U.K. (okay, not the Royal Family); 5) This toast.

    The President’s predecessor, however, President Bush, reminded the Queen of her earlier visit to the United States “in 1776″. Now I would say that was a presidential faux pas.

  67. EWTN Rocks says:

    Centristian,

    You said, “The President’s predecessor, however, President Bush, reminded the Queen of her earlier visit to the United States “in 1776?. Now I would say that was a presidential faux pas.”

    I would say that is a horrendous presidential faux pas (and quite amusing).

  68. DisturbedMary says:

    I’m laughing at our thin-skinned president and wondering whether he’ll blame it on Bush, smoking or the rich.

  69. Joe in Canada says:

    Centristian,
    5. “This toast.” The President’s toast was wholly appropriate; if he was expected to give a subject’s “loyal toast” to the Queen rather than a head of state’s toast to his host, then the faux pas was that of Buckingham Palace. The band’s interruption of the President’s toast was another faux pas, and the Queen’s delay in responding to the President’s toast was yet another faux pas. The President, however, did nothing wrong.

    The band did not interrupt the President; rather, it did what it was supposed to do. The Queen’s ‘delay’ was caused by the fact that the President did not actually drink to her, and she politely gave him a chance to catch up. He didn’t, so she tried to make do.

  70. AGA says:

    This is not the President’s fault. It’s the State Department’s fault. POTUS should arrive at these events with everything already worked out in advance – the London embassy would have the lead with the highest levels of the DOS in Washington overseeing.

    During the best of times the DOS is a managerial nightmare. Under Democratic regimes, especially under Obama, it’s a sloppy mess. Most Foreign Service folks are like modern public school teachers. Except very slightly better educated and much better paid. But equally incompetent. Ensconced into cushy jobs with nice benefit packages, with the biggest daily concerns being where to lunch or where to go out Friday night. They are simply incapable of managing complex events to a flawless level. Unless of course they find a way to contract it out to the private sector or have the military attache’s office oversee it.

  71. Andy Milam says:

    @ AGA;

    “This is not the President’s fault. It’s the State Department’s fault. POTUS should arrive at these events with everything already worked out in advance.”
    —Yes, like making sure that he had his best friend the teleprompter there…those pesky notecards are just too small.

  72. Fr Martin Fox says:

    My first response was dismay, then I found a video on Youtube of the Queen’s toast which preceded this, and seeing it all together gave me an altogether different impression.

    The Queen first gave a somewhat lengthy toast to the president, and to the United States, which had lots of nice comments about the alliance, history, and shared values etc. Then she summed up, as I recall, “to the President” or something to that effect. Then she drank the toast, while the President did not (properly), and then followed the U.S. National Anthem.

    As the Queen worked from notes, I am certain it was all carefully written and pored over by her advisors; I would assume someone, elsewhere, had that text, and would know exactly when she finished. Hard to imagine otherwise.

    Then the President proceeded to do approximately the same thing, so I think the criticism that he talked too much is not fair. His toast closely mimicked her in form and style. Again, he worked from a text and he did just fine. However, what I noticed was that he seemed to use words that sounded like the conclusion, and I think he raised his glass–and that’s when the music began–but he wasn’t finished, and we know the rest.

    My question: did someone elsewhere have a text, from which to cue the band? Did they pay attention, or did they jump the gun? Did the President depart from, or flub, his text? I very much doubt the Shakespeare line was an ad-lib; but did he offer it out of order? I doubt it; I imagine he wrote it as the penultimate paragraph, and if so, that’s what someone, elsewhere, should have been reading too. In any case, had he been supposed to stop at that point, they still would have waited for a pause–in which the toast would be drunk–before striking up the anthem. That didn’t seem to happen.

    So, I’m wondering if the flub really was on the part of whoever cued the band. I don’t really know how they do it, but it would make so much sense to follow the President’s written text I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t do that. Also, why wouldn’t you actually watch him, so you know you don’t do exactly what happened? It may have been unwise to have a line, before the end, that sounded like the end (and he may have flubbed it slightly so it sounded like he jumped ahead), but really, as the U.S. National Anthem waited for the Queen to finish completely, one would assume the same with the UK anthem.

    In any case, the Queen did the right thing, and the President was caught short. Of course he should have stopped talking, but if this is right, in fairness it may be someone else messed up.

    His facial expression told me he was flummoxed and embarrassed, and then when he finished the toast, he didn’t drink, I suspect, because he was all turned around and just wanted to sit down.

  73. Will D. says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Centristan. I’m no great fan of our President, but this is a tempest in a tea pot. The President tried to give a diplomatic toast and some protocol flunkie on one side or the other dropped the ball. Either they didn’t tell the President to keep it short, or they didn’t warn the band that he was going to make a longer toast. Big deal.
    And the thought that an American President give “the loyal toast” to the Queen is absurd. He owes no allegiance to the Queen, no matter what a nice lady she is, nor how close our nations have become. He is a head of state in his own right.

  74. Martial Artist says:

    Father Thompson (and anyone else who thinks the President bears no responsibility for his own gaffe),

    I do, at least to some degree, understand your reaction to some of the bilious responses. However, I am reminded of several other considerations which ought to affect anyone who is concerned with observing proper protocol. (Full disclosure, I am a retired US Naval officer who was, even before I joined the Navy, very strict with myself in in ensuring I knew explicitly what was properly expected of me in any public forum).

    That having been said, I do recall one of Mr. Obama’s Democratic predecessors in his current office having had a sign on his desk that read “The buck stops here.” I share some of the embarrassment of other posters, because I think that too much of what happens in the current administration displays an excessive disregard for how the rules are to be followed, and not just those rules involving social protocol, but also those involving the licit and proper roles of members of the administration, not excluding the President himself. This nation has been on a steady decline in maintenance of a legal system that gives full expression to the Rule of Law for longer than my 65 years, and, for me, this gaffe on the part of the President, particularly given his ploughing ahead even after the band began playing God Save The Queen, was simply a reminder of how little regard our political masters have come to devote to following the letter of the law, as it were. IMHO, his lack of adequate preparation redounds. at least to some degree, to himself.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  75. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father Augustine,

    “Have we really fallen to the level of the Democratic mockers, for whom any public action by the opposite party president is automatically folly or stupid or treason?”

    I am past caring. This man was elected by PR, liberal guilt, and a complicit media who could find out everything about Joe the Plumber in 24 hours (and forged GW Bush’s military records when they couldn’t find them) but can’t find the president’s birth certificate, school records, college applications, college grades, SAT scores, passport, senatorial records, or bar records.

    He associates with terrorists and Marxists, he insults and undermines our allies (returning Churchill’s bust that was sent to us after 9-11 – insisting that Israel return to the 1947 borders) and sucks up to our enemies (which only makes them despise us more). He is destroying business sectors, starting with auto manufacturing and moving on to insurance and banking. The middle class is being systematically bled dry. And he cynically used dissident Catholics and then betrayed them, in order to support the murder of thousands of innocent little ones. He will not even oppose the murder of the children who somehow manage to survive an attempted abortion.

    At some point it stops being stupidity or incompetence and starts being deliberate. This man hates our country and wants to destroy it.

    In the words of Lord Elcho, “Jesus and no quarter.”

    God forgive me for being so angry, but this man is evil.

  76. tealady24 says:

    This is just another example of how lame this president is! he makes many quaffs and mistakes, but his beloved media who are so enamored of their prince can’t admit it!

    Imagine in the midst of all this tragedy in Joplin MO and other states in the Midwest, George W took off for Europe, he would have been crucified by the press! But this “president” — “hey, I’ll be there Sunday. ”
    Whatever.

  77. tmitchell says:

    It would have been less painful if he had just hugged her.

  78. Igne says:

    The 1947 borders of Israel? If only. I’m surprised at the party for Netanyahu here. Obviously these are people who have never spoken to Lebanese Melkites/Maronites, or Catholics in the Holy Land.

  79. Prof. Basto says:

    Another protocol failiure seems to have happened today, although this one is likely to be less noticed. I still don’t have access to a video, but, according to the text of the remarks as published in the White House website, the President started his speech to both Houses of the British Parliament by saying:

    “My Lord Chancellor, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Prime Minister, My Lords, and Members of the House of Commons”.

    Someone should have advised the president that the Lord Chancellor is no longer the presiding officer of the House of Lords, and that, for some years now, the presiding officer of that House has been the Lord Speaker. The current Lord Speaker is Baroness Hayman, not to be confused with the Lord Chancellor, Justice Secretary Clarke, who is not even a member of the House of Lords.

    President Obama was escorted by the Speaker of the Commons and by the Lord Speaker, who even gave an address welcoming the President, but, if the WH transcript is correct, he failed to acknowledge the presiding officer of the Lords in the opening remarks of this speech to both Houses of Parliament. Another failiure of those advising the American president on protocol.

  80. SK Bill says:

    On the ABC News broadcast last night, the anchor clearly said this was the fault of the orchestra, “which did not realize that the President had not finished speaking.”

    Clearly, the President is not the only one who did not understand the protocol.

  81. bbmoe says:

    Queen Elizabeth II has lived through many momentous events in her long life, some of them unpleasant. At the beginning, there was the Blitz. Now, toward the end, The One. A life bookended with lots of bombs and one dud.

  82. Mundabor says:

    Has anyone reflected on what would have happened if George W. Bush had behaved in exactly the same way?

    Mundabor

  83. Front Pew View says:

    Time for a new protocol droid.

  84. Traductora says:

    The Won makes me upchuck. He could be simply a destructive idiot like Carter, but I think he’s set on his own course and honestly believes he’s going to be the caliph of the new caliphate.

    However, somebody has obviously told him to ratchet it down (hence the trip to Ireland…where he appears to be descended from a Protestant family, that is, English landowners) and he’s now trying to morph into something that would make him luvable to the Irish American soccer moms, along with trying to make the Brits forget that he has replaced the bust of Winston Churchill with something that looks ominously like a bust of Odinga or perhaps some other Kenyan hater of whites.

    But the poor guy is such a dim bulb that he can’t even get that right. He’s undereducated, or at least, not educated in Western culture, and keeps tripping himself up every time he strays from the teleprompter.

  85. John Nolan says:

    Some 30 years ago I was at a dinner in the RA Mess Woolwich which included officers from the German, Dutch and Belgian armies. After the loyal toast we drank to the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Queen of the Netherlands (the band striking up the respective national anthems). When it came to Belgium’s turn the Brigadier suddenly realized that he had forgotten whether the Belgian head of state was a king or a queen. But he rose to the occasion with a good old British compromise: “Gentlemen, His Majesty the Queen of the Belgians!” I thought the Belgian officer, a dapper little man with an Hercule Poirot moustache, might have walked out in high dudgeon, but he took it in good part.

    What President Obama should have done was to make his speech and then propose “The Queen”. The rest of the assembly should then have stood, port glass in hand while the Anthem was played. On its conclusion they should all have repeated “The Queen” before drinking the toast. But you can’t expect a gathering of celebs and politicos to know the correct form. It’s unfair, not to say churlish, to single out the President for criticism; he is a guest after all.

  86. ? Sigh, She is not “your majesty”, we do not recognize titles of nobility. READ the constitution. She is not “the queen”. As best he should say “your constitutional monarchedness”.

    Oh, I’m sorry, did I offend some of the British people here? I didn’t mean to. I just have a problem with idiot world leaders who can’t get even the basics of international diplomacy right. I have a real problem with the President of the United States going over to England for any reason. That is why we have an ambassador. The Pope going to England I understand. England owes the Papacy about 500 years of back tithes. The President of the United States going smacks of lacking in constitutionality. Is she now Obama’s queen? Is so then Obama needs to resign.

    Look either we have a constitution that is supposed to be binding on the elected officials of the country or we don’t. Just pick one. If we don’t then they can just do whatever they want and then it is no surprise that anyone who actually studies US political science begins to feel that they will loose their loyalty. It is like the muslim who learns arabic and actually reads the quran. They usually don’t stay muslim for long after that.

    How about this as a better solution. The US should donate D.C. to the Papacy and then England should donate a similarly large area of land to the Papacy and we can then have the Papal States again so that faithful Catholics can have a place to emigrate to when our modern secular states fail us.

  87. Peggy R says:

    This extended video shows that O gave extended remarks thanking the Queen, etc., prior to asking the guest to join him in the toast to the Queen. It seems reasonable that the band thought he had wrapped things up and began the Brit national anthem. I would have thought he had said enough as well.

    Here from CBS news.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7367209n

  88. muckemdanno says:

    Colm is exactly right. The Republicans here love to point out gaffes from this (admittedly terrible) President, because his name has a “D” next to it on the ballot.

    And there are WAAAAAAY too many Anglophiles around here…if these so called “nobles” had any human compassion, one of them would have given the Prez a nudge to shut him up and save him this embarrassment.

    Fr. Z, is it not a sin to intentionally make something known in order to embarrass a person? It is certainly not virtuous!

  89. muckemdanno says:

    True Christian mercy from Jon, above:

    No quarter. None. Ever.

  90. muckemdanno says:

    One last thing…the so-called “traditional” Catholics here defending the Queen and the “traditions” of the British monarchy…which claims to this day that this woman is the head of the Catholic Church in England. This is too funny!

    Here are some other “traditions” of the British Monarchy…anyone who is a Catholic can’t be the Monarch…starving the Irish Catholics to death for being Catholic…stealing all the lands and buildings of the Catholic Church in England. Any other great traditions the British have that we should all follow?

    Centristian has knocked the ball out of the park with his comments above.

    I say DOWN WITH THE BRITISH!!!

  91. AnAmericanMother says:

    I hold no brief for the Queen, or for B. Netanyahu, but we’re not discussing their respective countries’ mistreatment of Catholics. Give credit where it’s due – the Queen has been gracious to us and has served her country well, and Netanyahu has put his life on the line for his country.

    The point here is that Britain and Israel are our allies. This president’s actions towards them have been shameful, and in the case of Israel actually dangerous rather than just insulting.

    As for the Melkites and Maronites (among whom I count two friends, one from high school), it’s a pretty safe bet that they would prefer dealing with Israel rather than Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Wouldn’t you?

  92. Jon says:

    Dear Muckemdanno,

    You seem to have missed the “tyranny, sodomy, and unspeakable slaughter of infants” part.

  93. jflare says:

    A VERY small part of me wants to pass this off as the President being slightly exuberant and spontaneous, improvising a little bit. Problem is, beings that I too, am a former military officer, I’m not buying that idea very well.
    When two heads of state meet for ANYTHING that’s public, I’m thinking it’s all pretty thoroughly scripted. As someone else mentioned, they do that precisely so that something like this embarrassment don’t come up.

    I get the distinct impression that Obama’s staff–and possibly Obama, himself–isn’t quite so worried about that.
    A few years ago, I actually tried persuading a few people that he didn’t REALLY bow to anyone. After all, he’s the PRESIDENT and bows to no one. He was just showing the man some courtesy right? Well, I’ve seen the video; it’s about as close to being a bow as anything else.

    Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things?
    No, but protocol people DO exist to help ensure that these things don’t happen, so we DO focus on the important stuff. I would’ve expected the protocol-sensitive items to have been thoroughly reviewed by a collaboration of Obama and royal staffs.

    That doesn’t appear to have happened.
    Shame on Obama’s staff, in particular, but shame on Obama for making US look stupid.

    I do hope we have a decent challenger next year. I’d love to see Obama wave good-bye on 20 Jan 2012 (or is it the 21st?).

  94. Igne says:

    An American Mother,
    It’s far from that simple. Israel doesn’t treat Arab Christians nicer than Arab Muslims, as any Christian from Bethlehem or Nazareth would testify. Furthermore the US has had some rather sketchy allies over the years. That’s politics, eh? Sure, but it’s not necessarily virtuous or worthy of support, unless you really subscribe to the doctrine: ‘My country right or wrong’ – which is idolatry. Saudi Arabia is the US’s biggest ally in the Middle-East, and see how nicely they treat Catholics, other Christians, Shi’a Muslims or anybody who diverges from their Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam. I’d rather like to see some ‘shameful’ actions by the US President towards the Saudis. Netanyahu is rather less adept at putting his life on the line than presiding over a government that kills Palestinians, most of whom are civilians. Since 2009 1115 Palestinians have been killed (323 under the age of 18), Lord rest them, as against 17 Israelis (one under the age of 18), Lord rest them. Unfortunately US materiél has often been the means used to bring about the Palestinian deaths. Even from a pragmatic point of view the US government does not get much anymore from its support of Israel. By the way, I believe, in general, that the US has often been a great force for good in foreign policy in the world.

  95. AnAmericanMother says:

    Igne,
    There’s no comparison. It’s silly to complain about ‘not being nice’ in these circumstances. Israelis don’t sneak onto buses or into hotels and pizza parlors and detonate explosives. And I wouldn’t necessarily believe a Palestinian death toll, because there are plenty of cases where people were killed by Palestinians and they blamed it on the Israelis (e.g. the father who was attempting to shield his child (unsuccessfully) from a Hamas sniper – Hamas blamed it on the Israelis and it went all over the world via the complicit media, but when it turned out it was actually Hamas . . . silence.)
    Moral equivalence should not be applied to people like this:
    http://freund.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/ramalamurder200010.gif
    http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/fatahsbloodyhands.jpg
    (caution: graphic).

  96. pelerin says:

    According to the Daily Mail today ‘the band were normally given copies of both the Queen’s speech and that of her guest of honour so that they knew when to start playing. But the Americans had refused to hand over a copy of theirs so the band was forced to guess when to strike up.’ So there you have it – and as someone commented above, the Queen gave an equally long toast so the President did not make a faux pas.

  97. Gladiatrix says:

    As I understand from reading the press on this side of the pond, it is actually the bandmaster who is getting the blame for this and not President Obama. The question that should be asked is why the bandmaster struck up when he must have been able to hear that the President was still speaking.

    A historical note, we didn’t starve Irish Catholics for being Catholic. The famine was caused by a crop disease, the lack of proper administration when that became clear was in part our fault but the lack of food affected everybody; not just Catholics. I have also seen it suggested that the infection that caused the potato blight was brought on a ship from the USA that had not been properly inspected by the New York harbour authorities. I have no idea if there is any truth to that.

  98. AnAmericanMother says:

    “But the Americans had refused to hand over a copy of theirs so the band was forced to guess when to strike up.”

    And they’re blaming it on the bandmaster? What was so top secret in an after dinner toast that the President didn’t want the bandmaster to have a copy?

    And the poor guy probably thought that one of those dramatic . . . pauses . . . was the end of the speech and raised the baton. It only takes a second. Every time we sing the Bruckner “Locus iste”, the officious person who announces the post-communion hymn tries to jump in at the fermata in the last phrase. It only takes a second. (We just tank right over him or her. We’re louder than the microphone.)

  99. Matthew78 says:

    To echo some previous posts, in the end, “Queen” Elizabeth II is simply not the queen, but merely a pretender of the Windsor House, which is the modern royal house that follows the Germanic, Saxon line of the original Protestant pretenders that were placed on the throne, the Hanovers. Yes, the President committed an obvious blunder in protocol, and a quite foolish one at that. Even if he was not made aware of royal protocol, common sense dictates that one does not speak during a national song. Pure foolishness. Yet, as Catholics we should approach every moment of Royal press to promoted the Catholic, Jacobite royalty of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the House of Stuart. The current King of Great Britain and Ireland is the Duke of Bavaria, Francis II. The history is clear and simple, the Stuarts are the Royal family.

  100. Jane says:

    What great fodder for television comedy writers.

  101. AnAmericanMother says:

    Now, I’m as willing to raise a glass to “The King O’er the Water” as anyone . . . regardless of what the feckless “Bonnie Prince Charlie” inflicted on my kinfolk despite the best efforts of Lord George Murray . . . but the Hanoverians were only the last in a long series of usurpers. Henry IV, Edward IV, Henry VII, Henry II, and of course William I.

    ‘”Oh! La! La!” Rahere rolled up his eyes like a girl. “That ever England should be taken by the strong hand!”

  102. John Nolan says:

    God bless the King! (I mean the Faith’s Defender).
    God Bless (no harm in blessing) the Pretender;
    But who Pretender is, and who is King –
    God bless us all! That’s quite another thing.

  103. AnAmericanMother says:

    Some say, compar’d to Bononcini
    That Mynheer Handel’s but a Ninny
    Others aver, that he to Handel
    Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle
    Strange all this Difference should be
    ‘Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!

  104. John Nolan says:

    @quomodocumque

    Just because you don’t recognize titles of nobility doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And referring to the the Queen as such doesn’t imply you are her subject, any more than my referring to ‘President’ Obama implies that I owe any allegiance to him.

    Your precious constitution is simply a construction of 18th century Freemasons. It is no less a humbug than our constitutional monarchy. Oh, and another thing; you give your military so many ribbons that the chest of your average Pfc resembles a paint chart, yet the Commander-in-Chief is completely unadorned – no Orders, stars or decorations whatsoever. All other republics can manage something along these lines; why are you so perversely different?

  105. AnAmericanMother says:

    John,
    You’re not the first person to have noticed the question of decorations.
    Back during WWII, Bill Mauldin the cartoonist drew his two eternally scruffy ‘dogfaces’ (privates), Willie and Joe, in Naples or some other Italian city far from the front. They’re talking to a military policeman, who’s pointing out the multiple ribbons on his uniform.
    Caption: ” ‘. . . and this one with all the pretty colors is for being in this theater of operations.’ “

  106. Matthew78 says:

    @ John Nolan

    Great points, couldn’t agree more. It would do American society well to first recognize the “Enlightenment” foundation of its political system and philosophy. But, how could we dare acknowledge titles of nobility? Surely, such a thing is the antithesis of human freedom and democracy!! No, we must instead promote the cult of political correctness and equality!

    In all seriousness though, I pray for the day where Americans, especially Catholic Americans, once again embrace a more noble social order. One group that does promote this idea is Tradition, Family, Property, a non-profit organization. A humble start, but a start nonetheless.

  107. AnAmericanMother says:

    But, how could we dare acknowledge titles of nobility?

    There’s this little problem with Article I Section IX of the Constitution . . . .

  108. Matthew78 says:

    “Your precious constitution is simply a construction of 18th century Freemasons. It is no less a humbug than our constitutional monarchy.”

    This is a clear historical fact.

    The Constitution may be the “supreme law of the land” but is by no means inerrant nor infallible. Most Americans will not approach a true history of the Constitution or the founding of our nation. Masonic and Enlightenment ideals are abounding. Should we change and amend our Constitution? Absolutely. In fact, those of the traditionalist, classical mind would say that it is un-American to not be open to amending it. Many of the “Founding Fathers” were, intellectually speaking, products of the Enlightenment. As such, we need to move away from the godlike aura we grant them, especially in their political and social careers. We need to realize that the movements that influenced the “Founding Fathers” clearly influenced their political laws and practices as well. This surely includes the Constitution.

  109. AnAmericanMother says:

    Matthew78,
    You say that like it’s never happened. Last time I looked the Constitution had been amended 27 times (and that includes being UNamended once). Amusing sidelight: back in 1810 there was an amendment proposed to strip anybody who accepted a title of nobility of their American citizenship. It has never been ratified by the required 3/4, but the darned thing is still pending because there was no sunset provision in it.

    The bar is set necessarily high with ratification by 3/4 of the states required. Six amendments have been passed by Congress but never ratified. That’s why people are always trying to end-run the Constitution rather than amend it, especially the Supreme Court which has really put its foot in it numerous times from Kelo v. City of New London to Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott. THAT I find much more problematic and offensive than an exaggerated respect for the Constitution.

    Don’t know about you, but I don’t see the Founders as “godlike” and I doubt many other people do either. Fact is, though, the system they established works quite well, particularly given the hodgepodge of nationalities and social traditions in this large and populous country. What do you propose in its place?

  110. Matthew78 says:

    I agree that the power of the Supreme Court, and of the Federal Government in general, is disturbing and unlawful. Americans today expect and demand the Federal Gov’t to change what needs to be changed, and fix problems and crises in a timely manner. Quite frankly, I find it very problematic that we expect so much from the central government, rather than from our state and local gov’ts. Madison, the in the Federalist Papers, foresaw this type of centralization of power, yet one could argue that with globalization, it was inevitable.

    No system is perfect, but I think some cores need to be replaced. I would support a monarchical system, with a constitution and a state church, but with weak central power. The political power would follow a devolution, so that we would have strong local governments, city-states, municipalities, etc. A European equivalent would be the reinstating of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies, or Bavaria and Prussia, etc., rather than the disastrous centralist and nationalist systems that now take hold. In sum, I think we should strive for local, autonomous states united by a symbolic monarchical power.

  111. John Nolan says:

    Matthew78

    Thank you for your kind comments on some of my musings. You seem to be arguing for something like the Holy Roman Empire and the Gallican Church, although when the Revolution tried to bring the latter under complete state control, Louis XVI remained loyal to Rome. England under the Tudors was centralized in a way unique to Europe, largely on account of its relatively small geographical area.

    On entering Germany from the Czech Republic the signs read ‘Freistaat Bayern’ so particularism is alive and well. Until 90 years ago Bavaria had its own king and army. I would like to see England independent from Wales and Scotland who are drain on the Exchequer and exert disproportionate political power in Westminster. And since London is no longer remotely English, I would move the capital to York.

    The flag of the European Union represents the twelve stars in the crown of Our Lady (Schuman and Adenauer were both Catholics) and I would like to see a constitution which does not have overreaching powers but which recognizes the continent’s Christian roots. And an ending, or even reversal, of Moslem immigration. In 1685 the Turks were hammering at the gates of Vienna – don’t our politicians read any history?

  112. AnAmericanMother says:

    matthew,
    It was attempted with the Articles of Confederation. It didn’t work awfully well.
    The decentralized system works (indeed is probably best) when it comes to social and administrative matters. But for foreign policy and any sort of serious conflict you need a central government with some teeth.
    I agree with you that the feds have gone way too far. I hope some of that can be unravelled and more subsidiarity restored to state and local government. Which was what was intended in the first place — even Madison on his worst day never began to imagine the behemoth that we have now, and he’s probably up to about 6,000 rpm by now.