We’re visiting our daughter, Alix, her husband, Mike, and their family in Indianapolis. Seven of our grandchildren are with us in the house. Our son’s two girls had to stay behind for basketball try-outs on Sunday.
The 5-hour drive south was stressful, to put it mildly. Not only did we have to contend with road construction that seriously impacted our speed but we had three young children in the van, one of whom hates traveling and kept asking to go home. Even after we arrived, he still wanted to go home, asking Grandpa if we could leave late at night just to get away from it all. He must have sensed my stress!
It’s now Friday lunchtime. Just as I sat down to write, Evan, one of Alix’s twins, rode in a laundry basket down the steep stairs and crashed into the front door. He’s ok – I’m not sure about the door and the laundry basket has definitely seen better days! (Not to mention Alix’s heart failure!)
A few moments earlier, our autistic grandson who has a tendency to run away and get lost, knocked on the front door. We’ve no idea how he got out but at least he came back. He’s 4. He’s a late developer – I ran away when I was 3.
Evan is clearly a troublemaker. I have been sipping whisky in an attempt to kill a sore throat, though it doubles as a coping mechanism with all the activity around me. I just looked up to find Evan took my whisky bottle over to his mom and asked her to pour him some “juice.”
In spite of the occasional stress of sheer numbers, I still think that the opportunity to have time with grandchildren is a tremendous blessing and we truly enjoy every minute of it.
We are, of course, in Mike Pence territory. He’s been Governor of Indiana for four years and is highly spoken of by, seemingly, everybody. He’s done a good job governing the state, which has a financial surplus.
I thought he was treated badly on Monday by his opponent Tim Kaine in the Vice Presidential debate. Mr. Kaine kept on interrupting Mr. Pence so that he could not get his points across. Kaine was rude while Pence responded like a gentleman.
Another difference between them was over the issue of abortion. Kaine squirmed and waffled while trying to explain how he supports abortion when his own church, the Church of Rome, is against it. He said he felt it would be wrong of him to force his own view on women who want abortions. Mr. Pence, a Protestant and regular church-goer, reaffirmed his total opposition to abortion and said that, as Governor of Indiana, he has been promoting adoption as a means of encouraging women to give birth, rather than have their unborn child murdered. He reminded viewers that Mrs. Clinton supports partial-birth abortions, allowing women to abort babies when they are close to delivery. He even quoted Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
Mrs. Clinton supposedly takes her Christianity seriously – she’s a Methodist, a church now opposed to abortion.
Kaine and Clinton can only be described as hypocrites, supporting the murder of innocent children, while claiming to both be people of faith.
This year’s US presidential election cannot be encouraging any country to adopt the American system of government. Comments heard overseas are along the lines of: “Out of 330 million people, this is the best you can come up with?”
The ignorance of the rest of the world shown by Gary (“What’s Aleppo?”) Johnson, who is now claiming that knowledge of world affairs is “over-rated,” must be another influencing factor.
So, it’s not surprising that Canadians welcomed Prince William, his wife and two children, to British Columbia and Yukon. The future King and Queen of Canada, with their son, Prince George, who will succeed his father on the throne 40 or 50 years from now, ensure that Canada’s current system of government will endure for the rest of this century.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, just like the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. There are also 13 other Commonwealth Realms over which the Queen reigns. In addition, she is Head of the 53-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies. The British government has no authority over any of these countries.
Although many people think the 90-year-old Queen doesn’t do anything, the left-wing Independent newspaper in Britain wrote the following on her responsibilities:
“Her schedule is incredibly regimented, with multiple formal proceedings, events and processes she has to adhere to every day.
Meetings with ministers and officials take up a large portion of her day and, like most of us, she spends a big chunk of her time at work.
The Queen’s working day begins at her desk scanning the daily newspapers. She then proceeds to go through some of the 300 letters she receives from the general public every day. Some of these letters the Queen reads and replies to herself, while with others she tells members of her staff how she would like them to be answered.
Her Majesty will then see two of her private secretaries with the daily quota of official papers and documents. She receives a huge number of correspondences from Government ministers and her representatives in the Commonwealth and foreign countries. All of these have to be read and, where necessary, approved and signed.
A series of official meetings or ‘audiences’ will often follow. Each meeting usually lasting 10 to 20 minutes.
If there is an Investiture, a ceremony for the presentation of honors and decorations, it begins at 11.00am and lasts just over an hour.
The Queen will then lunch privately although every couple of months, she and The Duke of Edinburgh will invite a dozen guests from a wide variety of backgrounds to an informal lunch.
If Her Majesty is spending the morning on engagements away from her desk and other commitments, she will visit up to three venues before lunch, either alone or jointly with The Duke of Edinburgh.
In the afternoons, the Queen often goes out on public engagements and prepares for each visit by briefing herself on who she will be meeting and what she will be seeing and doing. Her Majesty carries out around 430 engagements (including audiences) a year and will regularly go out for the whole day to a particular region or city.
The afternoon draws to an end with a meeting of the Privy Council with several government ministers.
Early evening can involve the weekly meeting with the Prime Minister, which usually takes place on Wednesdays at 6.30pm.” (Independent, 9/9/15)
She is also available to all Commonwealth leaders.
Prince Charles will inherit the same responsibilities, as will Prince William, then George, in turn.
In contrast to the US, where party politics has seriously damaged the unity of the country, the Queen brings people together in a non-political way.
Western democracies, in the main, have one of three distinctly different forms of democracy.
The US presidential system is one.
The “Westminster” (British system) is another. This is just as democratic. People elect their representatives to parliament. The dominant party’s leader becomes the prime minister. The Queen remains outside of politics, but contributes greatly to political stability and national unity.
The third option is a mix of the two, with a parliamentary form of government and a prime minister but, instead of a monarch, there is an appointed figurehead president, with similar powers to the British monarch. The Germans, Italians and Irish have this form of government. A serious weakness was shown with this system in 1934, when the German president died suddenly and the new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, simply abolished the office and had himself proclaimed “Fuhrer.” This could not happen in a constitutional monarchy – when the Queen dies, automatically Charles becomes King.
Although some people in Canada would like to see the tie with the Crown abolished when the Queen dies, Canadian John Fraser summed up their arguments this way: “Queen Elizabeth has done a great job for Canada; therefore let’s make sure there is no monarchy when she dies.” (“The Secret of the Crown,” John Fraser, 2012) The reasoning really doesn’t make sense.
Fraser points out that Canada is one of the most successful countries in the world, thanks partly to its political system, which includes a major role for the Crown. The country’s birth owes its origin to the Crown and the people’s allegiance to it. Even the current Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is committed to maintaining the tie with the Crown – indeed, he invited William and Kate to Canada, along with their two children. Next year, Prince Charles and his wife will be in Canada to join in celebrations for the 150th anniversary of confederation.