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Why We Love the Royals

Nov 22, 2013 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

One the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, I am struck with the fact that I was only 7 years old when it occurred. I was way too young to understand what it meant.  I do remember the look on my teachers face when she told us- it was shock and sadness. Still, my thoughts about the event are much more influenced by the media and my exposure to how others reacted than my actual memories.

Of course, since then I’ve been much more exposed by the fairytale of Kennedy’s Camelot. I thought that John and his beautiful wife and two perfect children were like the English Royals.  My fantasy wasn’t so much about  the life they actually led, but the fantasy that people wanted to have about them.

Many people say that the reason why people still love Kennedy is that he was young and exciting…and that he didn’t live long enough to face the wrath of the American public.  The Bay of Pigs, his relationship with Marilyn Monroe- those were all details we can ignore now.  Had he lived, he would have realized that in the US you can’t make everyone happy about everything.  Your approval rating will eventually decline. John didn’t live long enough for that.

Kennedy's Camelot

Kennedy could have been a Royal

That’s why I believe England has the right idea. Their royals are separate from the government.  The royals support all kinds of charities. People can see beautiful pictures of them, shake their hand, and be happy about weddings and babies. They don’t have to be responsible for that pesky “running the government” stuff.

Yes, I believe in Camelot- I believe in goodness… I don’t like that we’re fickle and we have ridiculous expectations on our leaders. Wouldn’t it be great if tragedy didn’t have to occur for us to love our leaders?

14 Comments

  1. Lori Lavender Luz

    It’s a weird thing we do, eh? Build people up and elevate them to “royal” status, then also topple them for being no better than we are when they show less-than-stellar judgment.

  2. Virginia

    Isn’t it Lori? it’s a no-win situation. Sometimes I wonder why they want to be in politics….thanks- Virginia

  3. Renee Baribeau (@PracticalShaman)

    Being from Massachusetts, the Kennedy’s were beyond reproach. Back then, the behavior was a cultural norm in my world. Sometime I wonder…..

    • Virginia

      I wonder also Renee, but I try to remember that it was a different time. I believe we are much more aware now about the power in some families today.

  4. Karen D. Austin

    Yes, the Kennedys did sometimes function as royals in their status as pop culture icons. I think we elevate entertainers to that status now. Funny, I just downloaded Lorde’s song “Royals” yesterday about the coveting the underclass does of the upperclass. For myself, I recently watched the first two series of the Monarchy (UK) documentaries. That made me GLAD that I am not part of a ruling family. So much war, conspiracy, power mongering, posturing. So little peace or privacy. Today I am happy to be living an obscure life. Thanks for sharing your ideas about JFK. Yes, had he lived to 80, I think he would be much less revered. It would have complicated his image.

    • Virginia

      Agreed! I’d love to be Royal for a day or two though…just to see the homes they live in 😀

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman

    Great post, Virginia. Your post made me think of how differently Kennedy would have been treated by our cynical press today. Can you imagine? I don’t think he could have held onto he hero worship he enjoyed back then.

    • Virginia

      It would be interesting to see how his approval rating would survive, wouldn’t it?

  6. Kay Lynn

    The Kennedys were a new kind of presidential family for the US and quite a contrast to the much older Eisenhowers. It was like the dawning of a new day that ended horribly.

    • Virginia

      I don’t remember the Eisenhowers at all, I’d love it if you’d describe them to us?

  7. Linda

    I think Jackie helped to create and perpetuate the Kennedy mystique. She was always so aware of how things looked to the public. I’ve always admired her style and grace in what must have been pretty difficult circumstances.

    • Virginia

      I admired Jackie also- somehow she always put on a good face and made her children a priority. She also created an identity for herself as a woman of style and elegance. Back then, it was all she could do- I don’t think women were admired for their brains 😀 Thanks Linda, great thoughts. Virginia

  8. Dawn Biocca

    Like you I don’t really remember it as much as I remember people’s reactions to it. Got sent home from school and mom was crying. The Kennedy’s like so many others were put on a high pedestal and they were admired and treated like royalty. It is a hard way to live. Always being watched to see if you live up the the expectations the people have of them. And we do that to all the stars. And when we crash and burn we are there to click our tongs and shake our heads and think bad about them. After all they should be better because we believe they are better. They are people and people make mistakes. We have to take them down off that pedestal and just let them be people. Maybe England has the right idea but then where would the Kennedy’s be in politics or royals.

  9. Virginia

    I like the Royals so for me it’s easy to think that they’d love it. I secretly think most politicians just love the fame. I’m sure that’s not fair, but that’s just me. Great comments Dawn