I’ll admit it, this column was inspired in part by Michael Knowles’ Daily Wire podcast on Thursday, in which he replayed a part of Queen Elizabeth’s 1957 Christmas Address, the first delivered by a British monarch via television. Here is a part of the text:

That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us. Because of these changes I am not surprised that many people feel lost and unable to decide what to hold on to and what to discard. How to take advantage of the new life without losing the best of the old.

 But it is not the new inventions which are the difficulty. The trouble is caused by unthinking people who carelessly throw away ageless ideals as if they were old and outworn machinery.

 They would have religion thrown aside, morality in personal and public life made meaningless, honesty counted as foolishness and self-interest set up in place of self-restraint.

 At this critical moment in our history we will certainly lose the trust and respect of the world if we just abandon those fundamental principles which guided the men and women who built the greatness of this country and Commonwealth.

 Today we need a special kind of courage, not the kind needed in battle but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.

 It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult. That is why we can take a pride in the new Commonwealth we are building.

 This year Ghana and Malaya joined our brotherhood. Both these countries are now entirely self-governing. Both achieved their new status amicably and peacefully.

 This advance is a wonderful tribute to the efforts of men of goodwill who have worked together as friends, and I welcome these two countries with all my heart.

 In the old days the monarch led his soldiers on the battlefield and his leadership at all times was close and personal.

 Today things are very different. I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.

 I believe in our qualities and in our strength, I believe that together we can set an example to the world which will encourage upright people everywhere.

 I would like to read you a few lines from “Pilgrim’s Progress,” because I am sure we can say with Mr Valiant for Truth, these words:

 “Though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought his battles who now will be my rewarder.”

The speech is not just thoughtful but remarkably prescient.

Compare it to any Joe Biden address or public appearance, including but not limited to his propaganda speech in Philadelphia. The man, probably somewhat on his own, but not without the help of his handlers, now practically uses MAGA as a noun, pronoun, adjective, and adverb. Compare it to any White House press briefing where the current press secretary doesn’t even try to master the Orwellian concept of doublespeak. Compare it to Nancy Pelosi telling us we have to pass the bill to find out what is in the bill or repeating “the children, the children, the children.” Compare it to the commentaries of CNN or MSNBC hosts. Compare it to the innumerable Twitter rants, college campus tantrums, and the barely self-aware ramblings of the alleged luminaries of pop culture.

For that matter, compare it to Donald Trump.

I know that comparison is going to rankle some of you and probably earn me the title of Never Trumper. I can’t help that. But many of Trump’s comments, nicknames, and Twitter salvos have been designed to get reactions, both from supporters and detractors. I recognize that Trump’s style is supposed to be that of the working class, the people in flyover country, and those who are continually being moved to the margin. I understand that his comments are seen as a balm by people who are tired of constantly being referred to as the worst people on earth. They are a cheerful, feisty, “F**k you!” to the pundits and ivory tower pseudo-intellectuals who enjoy the privileges of power, wealth, fame, and position. They are a “Drop dead!” statement to the hypocritical and opportunistic environmentalists, the race baiters, and the sneering, self-appointed, ill-informed, Ministers of Truth.

And the man did indeed do some good things. He decreased unemployment, boosted the economy, took steps to secure the border, increased American energy independence, and brokered the Abraham Accords. But he also knows how to fan the flames to generate controversy and publicity to enliven his base and infuriate his opponents. Trump understands the value of advertising. And as disgusted as I am by the invective from the Left, what of the “F**k Joe Biden” signs, banners, and stickers? Humor, satire, parody, and even passion all have their places within the realm of free speech. But at what point do we examine not just our opposition but ourselves? That is a question with which people of conscience must wrestle. Do we aspire to statesmanship, or do we decide that statesmanship is simply no longer an option and that there is no other way forward than to surpass the other side in outrage?

When Her Majesty gave that speech, not only was the world stepping into new advances in technology, but it was also still living in the shadow of the Second World War. The world and England were still very much aware of the carnage that had been created by the rise of dictatorships. It had only been 12 years since the bloody conflicts with the Axis powers across the globe. Queen Elizabeth understood that. She understood that a little more than a decade prior, the world had been nearly torn apart. She knew words could unify and strengthen people. She knew her words could move her subjects forward.

The 21st century, for all of its technological advancements, has seen a coarsening of people and culture. These things have been enabled by Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, which promise fame and, to some degree, fortune, no matter how briefly. And all too often, the “celebrities” on these mediums possess little or no knowledge of the English language, the world, or themselves. But to what degree do we engage in debate without the culture controlling us? Doubtless, it is time to demand better from politicians and the media. Is it also time to expect more of ourselves? The question has given me some food for thought.

Whether or not we see the likes of Queen Elizabeth II or Churchill again is solely our choice. God has saved the Queen. Would that He would save us.

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