A Leader Addresses The Nation, by Rich Paschall
It is not often that Queen Elizabeth II makes an official address to the United Kingdom. If you do not count her annual Christmas message, which is nothing more than a Season’s Greeting, she has not taken to the airwaves for an official speech to the nation since 2012. That was the occasion of her 60th Anniversary as the monarch. Prior to that, it was 2002 when the very popular Queen Mother had passed away. In fact, her latest address was counted as the fifth time in 68 years that the queen has spoken to the kingdom in her official capacity.
Surely we do not have to tell you the reason everyone was invited into the palace electronically to hear what the queen had to say. COVID-19 has hit England very hard. By Friday the number of deaths had reached almost 9,000. It is less than half the total of the US, but quite considerable when you consider the size of the population compared to the USA.
The nation had to be instructed. The nation had to be put at ease. The nation had to be assured they were going to get through this.
Eighty years earlier, as a young princess, Elizabeth spoke to the nation during another battle for survival. Children were being evacuated from their homes in London in 1940 during World War II, to keep them safe from the bombing raids on the city. The nation, and especially the children, needed to be put at ease.
“We know, every one of us, that in the end, all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”
It has once again fallen to Elizabeth II to speak to the nation:
“I’m speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time, a time of disruption in the life of our country, a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
She was not there to call attention to herself. She was placing no blame on those that were on the frontlines of the battle. She was there to praise their work and assure them they were appreciated:
“I want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all. I’m sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated, and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.”
She also wanted to call attention to those who serve their families and all the nation by staying at home:
“I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable, and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.”
She also did what a good leader would do in times of war. She assured the nation that they would be victorious:
“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.”
And while the 92-year-old Queen was instructing the nation and attempting to keep them calm, where was the bombastic conservative Prime Minister of England, Boris Johnson? He was being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. Subsequently, he was moved to an Intensive Care Unit. Karma had caught up with him as it has done with others who thought this was little more than the flu going around. He was the politician who made light of the pandemic and even claimed to be “shaking hands continuously” with people in the hospital. His jokes are not funny anymore.
It is important to have a leader who shows confidence and seeks to not only instruct the nation but also to reassure everyone that everything is being done to win the battle. We do not have that here. We have someone who does not praise those on the frontlines, instead, he scoffs at them, belittling their efforts, accusing them of stealing masks and other equipment.
He gives little or nothing to states needing life-saving equipment while giving others, Florida for example, everything they ask for. If you praise him and live in a state likely to vote for him, he will take care of you. Others can die. He is not just corrupt, hoping to profit from the misery of his own nation, he is also evil. Pure evil, but I digress.
Let’s end with a positive message. Let us be reassured that there is a brighter day ahead and we will get through this darkness and find the light.
“Using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal, we will succeed, and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again. But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.” – HRH Queen Elizabeth II
Sources: “Queen Elizabeth says ‘better days will return’ in rare and historic coronavirus address,” by Hannah Yasharoff, USA Today, usatoday.com April 5, 2020.
“Queen Elizabeth II Coronavirus Speech Transcript,” rev.com April 5, 2020.
“Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to make rare address to nation over coronavirus,” Reuters, cnbc.com April 3, 2020.
“Coronavirus: 980 dead in UK hospitals in deadliest day of pandemic yet,” by Matthew Weaver, The Guardian, theguardian.com April 10, 2020.
“Wartime broadcast, 1940,” Princess Elizabeth, royal.uk October 13, 1940.
“Boris Johnson Kept Working, But the Virus Took Over,” by Kitty Donaldson, Tim Ross, and Robert Hutton, Bloomberg.com
“Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not,” by Lydia DePillis, Mike Spies, Joshua Kaplan, Kyle Edwards, and Caroline Chen, propublica.org March 20, 2020.