While we continue our political wrangling, the Japanese have a real issue on their hands.
They have to decide whether or not they will have an empress some day soon.
I was discussing the issue with my wife, you see, and since she happens to actually be Japanese I have the opportunity to experience a culture with royalty. Oh, sure, we have the Kennedys, but don't tell me you really think that's the same.
As an American I've always felt like I've been missing out because we don't have Royals, so maybe I was subconsciously seeking to fill that need by marrying my wife. Or maybe I just got lucky, but the point is, now I have an Emperor.
And soon I may have an Empress.
This is the situation.
Princess Masako is the wife of Crown Prince Naruhito, next in line for Chrysanthemum Throne or at least the father of the next in line.
Problem is, right now they only have a daughter and they had a heck of a time getting her. Masako-sama is no longer young and, while they're still trying, the pressure on the poor princess is tremendous.
And in addition to that, Masako is suffering in other ways from her royal celebrity.
The daughter of a diplomat, Masako is used to being able to go anywhere she wants, to be able to travel on her own. Now she can't even go to the store like a normal person.
The stress is so great she's decided to go home to her family near Nagano to get her head together.
Except for the fact that that move also caused controversy because it cost so much money to set up the proper security at her family's home where there were no previous security arrangements.
So anyway, the problem here is should the Japanese keep pressuring this poor woman to have a male child, or should they fly in the face of tradition and change the law to allow a female to take the throne.
Personally, I think it's great that such issues still exist even today. And what a wonderful opportunity for change if Masako's daughter is made empress.
But what I find most important is the very existence of royal families in democratic societies. It's an important reminder of just how new the concept of democracy is in the context of history.
We still cling to our concept of kingship or queenship as the true form of leadership. It reflects the most primal authority structure, turning to the person who has the leadership qualities, the man or woman we would want as king or queen, as chief, as captain, as boss.
Still, the great illusion of royalty is that, in most cultures, they are supposedly fit for leadership by virtue strictly of their bloodline. Democracy gives humans the right to select the individual we want as our leader, and that's why democracy is superior.
However, it seems to me that we are rarely presented with a choice in candidates who have that "royal air," that natural sense of leadership that inspires confidence in all or most people.
That's the situation in which we are in now. Once again we must compromise, accept the lesser of two evils. It seems to me like, no matter whom they consider the lesser evil, most people I know feel the same way.
Oh, well, there's always 2008.
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at email@example.com .