The woke are at it again.
Not content with canceling free speech, comedy, Dr. Seuss and Aunt Jemima, they’ve now found their way toward a new target: the recently departed Queen Elizabeth II.
Even though her majesty held no meaningful power to speak of— hadn’t ever passed a single law, appointed a judge, or waged a war — the very online activist community thought it was acceptable to blame her for the past sins of the British Empire.
A particular egregious case of this line of rhetoric came from Uja Anya, professor of applied linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University, who tweeted, while the body was still warm, “I hear the chief monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.”
In another example of outrage, musician Phoebe Bridgers and other celebrities shared a viral meme that stated, “Today we mourn all the stolen, violated and traumatized lives who were affected and destroyed during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Today is a brutal reminder that war criminals will be honoured while entire populations and societies bear the battle scars of colonial genocidal violence, invasion, religious persecution and white supremacy.”
You get the picture. Her high royal highness, instead of being an embodiment of service and Christian virtue for the past 70 years, was, to certain hare-brained progressives, something close to Satan.
Now to be charitable to these criticisms, one must first acknowledge that indeed, the record of the British empire is a very mixed bag. Along with such wonderful gifts like Shakespeare, the rule of law, self-government and natural rights, Britain also bequeathed to the world a long history of colonialism and terror.
In India alone, over the course of two centuries, the U.K robbed more than $45 trillion of wealth and was responsible for tens of millions of deaths, according to research from economist Utsa Patnaik that was published by Columbia University Press.
That’s an astonishing reality that deserves serious consideration. Human decency would demand from the United Kingdom a serious effort toward providing reparations and an apology to India and all other victims of its past atrocities.
But the simple truth is none of this had anything to do with the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Since 1689, when Britain officially became a constitutional monarchy, the royal family has served as little more than a symbol of the United Kingdom and its institutions. It has had no political or legislative authority.
The responsibility for colonialism rests on the series of parliamentary majorities and prime ministers who put that policy into place. That’s where the left’s ire should be directed.
Getting angry at the queen for Britain’s dark past is like blaming America’s racism on the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument. Symbols cannot be held responsible for injustice, they simply preside over the land and remind us of our better angels.
Elizabeth’s duty as sovereign was to reign as a source of stability and grace for British citizens and serve as a connection to history. And she achieved those goals brilliantly, earning the respect of nearly every world figure she came in touch with, from Nelson Mandela to Barack Obama and Winston Churchill.
However, the woke, instead of taking a moment to acknowledge the passing of a marvelous woman, couldn’t let politics rest for a second and decided to engage in mindless, illogical attacks.
The new activism seems to work from the premise that the way to make change is to constantly criticize, all the time. You improve the world by judging it.
In reality, that sort of approach comes off like the political equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. It irritates rather than persuades. Queen Elizabeth was not perfect, but she was a shining embodiment of the virtues of the Greatest Generation — boundless courage and devotion, dedication to service above self.
Those who find it acceptable to spit on her grave make a rod for their own backs, for one day, we will all die. And when that moment comes we can expect the next generation to be just as unforgiving of us. For after all, they will only be emulating our example.
Something is very lost in people who cannot simply acknowledge a life well lived. We’d all be so lucky to embody even a fraction of the nobility the queen showed so effortlessly.
My message to the snowflakes is simple: Get your government hands off her majesty!
Joshua Heath is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.