In an attempt to stay abreast of current affairs, I use the BBC News app on my phone. If you’d have asked me two years ago what its biggest flaw was, I’d have immediately said it was the baffling inconsistency. It seemed to think subjects which I have absolutely no interest in were of vital importance, but tended to ignore the stories I would actually like to be notified of.
All too often, my phone made an alert sound and I fished it out only to discover that someone at the BBC was certain I’d want to know that the price of cantaloupes had dipped precipitously in Abu Dhabi. Later, I’d open the news app and find that giant monsters had risen from the sea bed to devour humanity, but that that somehow hadn’t warranted a “breaking news” update.
This was before the current round of madness. Before Brexit, and Trump, and the incredible resurrection of fascism worldwide. These days, when my phone makes the news app sound, my first reaction tends to be “Oh, Christ, now what?!”
I usually check with a sense of trepidation, fully expecting to learn that Donald Trump has launched a drone strike against CNN, or that the Republican party is standing by a candidate despite revelations that he ate three babies during a Satanic rite.
Recently, however, my news app did something that nobody in the U.S. will fully appreciate. It pinged to tell me that Prince Harry, the increasingly distant heir to the throne, proposed to his actress girlfriend over roast chicken.
This wasn’t some celeb gossip rag telling me this, you understand. This was the most trusted news organization in the UK telling me how somebody I don’t know proposed to someone I don’t care about, even down to what they were eating at the time. They didn’t even give me a choice about reading it. The BBC went out of their way to hijack my attention so that they could incite me to fawn over a Prince.
For all of America’s flaws – currently and in general – count yourselves lucky that you don’t have to deal with the constant fetishisation of Royalty. In the UK, we’re bombarded with reminders that there are a group of insanely wealthy people who are better than us because… because they just are.
Even someone like Trump, odious as he is, has money that can be traced back to a concrete source. Royalty are subsidized by the public because their lineage traces back through centuries of baffling genetics (and more than a little inbreeding) to someone who won a battle, somewhere, in the dim recesses of history. Because of that fact, I have to periodically give them some of my wages to stop their palaces falling down.
Since 1776, America has been a beacon to those who believe that all men are created equal. Donald Trump doesn’t believe that – he’d love to establish himself and his descendants as rulers in perpetuity – but this is why he must be opposed. Fighting Trump and his ilk is a fight for the higher ideals of humanity. Ideals that were set down pretty damn well by the Founding Fathers of America. For all those who tell me they wish they lived in the UK at the moment, I would say this: Take a minute, and be grateful to live in a country where you’re not expected to care what the soon-to-be sixth man in line for a magic chair had for dinner. And then get back to fighting for an America that lives up to its own stated ideals.