I recommend the King’s Speech; We could use some noblesse oblige about now…

February 9, 2011

Saw the movie “The King’s Speech” and I highly recommend it.

Besides being entertained, what I got out of it is that in another time and in another world and maybe even now in this world people need a member of the elite class to look up to and to reassure them in times of crisis and that it can be lonely and scary at the top.

This of course took place in England and things are no longer quite the same there nor here (in the U.S.) for that matter.

I can’t say what it has always been here, but it seems that for the most part in modern times we either don’t get the leadership from the top or we don’t respect it.

And let me go back to the actual movie. There was an interesting line when the lead actor, playing King George VI, who had to deal with a stuttering problem, groused that people were depending upon him for so much and yet (under the system which leaves the modern monarchy with little to no actual political power) he really had no authority to do anything — except be the image of leadership as the head of state.

The interesting part here to me is the idea of an elite in society feeling it has the obligation to lead. I have referred to or alluded to this a few times in recent blogs.

The history of our United States by definition is a resistance to monarchy. The 13 colonies revolted against the King of England and set up their own democratic republic with no king, although there had been talk of handing the title to George Washington. He declined.

In my lifetime, the only president we have had that was nearly treated as a king, rightly or not, in my mind, was Ronald Reagan. His death was treated like that of a monarch and people even recently celebrated his 100th birthday — and he’s dead.

Reagan was a lot more show than substance, at least in my opinion. But that may account for the adulation. He carried himself well and personified the idea of American exceptionalism and confidence coming out of a period of self-loathing and with an occupant in the White House who personified weakness and a lack of leadership, despite his no doubt good and noble intentions.

A close second, and more to my liking, would be John F. Kennedy. The whole Kennedy clan was almost treated as royalty, and with their wealth, and the fact that the heirs to old Joe Kennedy were never required to do actual work, living off of trust funds, and yet dedicated their lives to public service and looking out for what they perceived to be the interests of the common man rather than just the rich, they personified the whole idea of benevolent monarchs or noblesse oblige.

We don‘t need monarchs in the U.S.

We could use some more noblesse oblige about now, especially among the Wall Street and corporate set.

I would prefer that to the rantings of Hitler (shown briefly in the movie) or Hitler-like people such as Glenn Beck et al. or the empty platitudes and jingoism of the highly unsophisticated and apparently poorly educated Sarah Palin.

Hire American. Invest in America. Believe in America, not just your own bank account.