Oh, England! How have I loved thee, even though most of my forebears came from the doubtful Scots and Welsh borders, and not a few were 17th-century refugees from the turmoil of the German states. I am old enough to remember when many, many of us regarded you as our Mother Country, despite all the Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians who had come to populate our cities and our prairies. Now we have the Chinese, Mexicans, Caribbeans, Africans, Muslims, and Subcontinentals, who have other mothers or none, so I suppose my Mother is forgotten forever.
How have I loved thee? Let me count the ways.
Your island nation whose hardy sons mastered the vast watery portion of the globe: Britannia rules the waves! They planted free commonwealths in distant parts. They took up the white man’s burden worldwide and made the only empire that left the natives better off than they were before. I know faults may be found with your empire, especially by today’s pundits, who are incapable of seeing the big picture. They can only wallow in the dirt around the edges and miss the tremendous civilizational achievement. They do this with all of history.
More ways I have loved thee: Your ideal of “fair play.” Your standing valiantly alone against the German bully in a dark hour. And the heritage of law, the best yet devised by man for the protection of liberty and justice. The American Founders had a strong purchase on the letter and spirit of that ordered liberty, despite the lies that have been told since the 19th century that make them Jacobins. It used to be taken for granted that American law was Anglo. But now imported Continental ideologies hold sway with judges and “constitutional experts” who never knew the true law and who have become harsh masters of the people rather than their protectors. The hallowed “Common Law” sense of the people has been replaced with elitist theory.
And your representative government, the Mother of Parliaments, once a grand and honored thing. Now dead, of course, in the United States, with each representative misrepresenting three fourths of a million anonymous people. He is now a servant of his party (a thing itself without honor) and of conniving interests rather than of us folks at home—and especially a servant of those with a lot of campaign cash on offer. Such unanimity, such absence of sincerity and thought and debate, can only be found among men bought and paid for.
Your marvelous language, at once solid and supple, surpassing all others. Shakespeare, only the most brilliant in a whole constellation of bright stars—a literature that will always be among the greatest of the works of man, of his mind and spirit. America has managed to turn the English tongue into a zombie language without a soul, fit only for advertising trivia and politicians’ slogans. Its creativity survives only in a few fading patches of unlearned Southerners and perhaps among a few old-timers in the Aussie Outback. If it still lives in the Mother Country itself I do not know, but I doubt it.
And the art form of our age—your so many classic films full of gentle charm, bravery, and commonplace decency. American film is so pervasively British that we do not even notice, and its actors and directors are assumed to be American. You have been prolific producers of drama and loved the actor’s art, perhaps because your class system and your empire partook so much of staged performances.
I know this is a romantic picture. There is no earthly paradise and no perfection in the acts of men. But in this realm of human folly, crime, and misfortune, Beloved England, your beauty and virtue have been real enough to inspire our devotion.
I admit to being an admirer of the English detective, having spent countless hours with him in print and on screen. A Southerner, Poe, invented the detective story, but the English perfected it. Long have I admired the brilliant sleuth and his or her tireless pursuit of truth and justice.
But then, alas, there was Rotherham.
O Beloved! Where have you gone? Are your sons now a nation of cowards and liars? Still, I have to admit that something like Rotherham was observed almost two centuries ago in New York City, and at least since the 60’s the same has been going on in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, and Los Angeles. The victims are similar, although the perpetrators are neither immigrants nor Muslims. Justly we can only share, not look down upon, your shame.