Every time I draw a caricature of Barack Obama that doesn't portray him in a heroic, even saintly light, readers complain! Well, you can hold your fire this time -- unless you are on the Right, of course. I've given Barack Obama everything but a halo today. Following the president's trip to the G-20 summit, the world is truly in The Great One's hands -- or at least gripped tight by one hand like a basketball.
No, my complaint this time isn't with Barack Obama, and it certainly isn't with the First Lady, whose public appearances before schoolchildren and in hospital wards in Britain and elsewhere was moving. It's the darn Royal Family that irks me. SO WHAT if Michelle put her arm around the Queen at Buckingham Palace! WHAT -- was Her Royal Higness afraid Ms. Obama might snatch Her Precious Purse?
...Oh, a violation of Royal Protocol, you say?
Well, if I'm not mistaken, we put an end to all that rot when the British surrendered at Yorktown! Technically, we owe nothing more to the Royal Family today than a, "Yo, Queen," or "How ya doin', Chuck?"
...Now that's not to say Americans shouldn't be respectful of other cultures, especially as our own is so superficial and crass. It is right to remove one's shoes before entering an Arab's home because that's how it's been done for centuries. It's also a lot more sanitary than here in America, where we clod-hop through each other's homes, or through houses of worship, our shoes encrusted with mud, grass clippings, dog feces, goose droppings, gum wrappers, motor oil and antifreeze. And we should bow ourselves silly in Japan, because that's how the Japanese have done it since time immemorial. And, not to forget, when the Dalai Lama offers you some tea flavored with rancid yak butter, you must graciously accept, gulp it down heartily, smack your lips and reply -- "ahhhhhhh, that hit the spot, your Holiness!"
But the Queen of England? Let alone, Prince Charles? Give me a break! Be polite, of course. Don't shout. Don't assume they care about the Jonas Brothers. Don't point at Charles and laugh. And try not to fart -- or at least wait 'til the Queen breaks the royal wind first. But be American, in the best sense. Let the Royal Family know, however gently and respectfully, that we need not observe each and every rule of Royal protocol. Rather, let it be understood, quietly (even silently), that for our First Lady to gently slip her arm around the Queen's waist is both RESPECTFUL, and respectfully affectionate -- in an American way. A tribute to the most enduring alliance and friendship between two nations on Earth...since we bested the Brits during the War of 1812.
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