I join the United Kingdom, America, and much of the rest of the world in mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Her grace and many other admirable attributes have been a consistent reminder of what public service should be. As I have watched the tributes and honors pour into the media, I cannot avoid the question: what American statesman has earned such respect? Where is America’s Queen Elizabeth?
At age 14, this heiress daughter of King George VI and the Queen Mother made a public radio speech expressing true sympathy to wartime evacuees. During World War II, Princess Elizabeth joined the women’s branch of the British Army becoming a mechanic and military truck driver. In 1952, she ascended to the throne at age 25 with minimum fanfare. During her reign, she hosted almost every free world leader including 13 American presidents. Her gracious hospitality was unmatched by any other royalty or head of state. More than a ceremonial figurehead, as Commander-in-Chief of the British military forces, her wisdom and grit served her nation decisively through many crises. During her numerous trials and setbacks over her seven decades reign, she maintained an unwavering resolve while demonstrating impressive empathetic and moral character.
This monarch deferred her glory to that of her Lord and Savior. She was a close friend of Billy Graham and often shared her faith publicly. In a nationwide broadcast shortly after becoming queen, she requested, “Pray for me…that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.” Just last month, she proclaimed in a speech, “throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope.”
The life of Queen Elizabeth should be the standard by which we Americans assess our leaders. But we fall woefully short. I was four years old when Princess Elizabeth became queen. Since that year, I have witnessed 14 American presidents. I deeply regret that I can’t name one that has had the moral character, the dignity, the resolute but gentle spirit, the respect of the nations, and the love of the governed that is descriptive of this queen. I have had favorite presidents, Ronald Reagan topping the list. But I sadly wonder whom in the last 70 years could we Americans celebrate in the manner earned by Queen Elizabeth. Where is America’s Queen Elizabeth?
It is a shameful indictment of our great nation that we can’t seem to raise up key leaders who have the moral character, the fortitude, and the wisdom along with the faith, the gentleness of spirit, and the empathy we so desperately need. Surely we have men and women of that caliber who can unify and lead 330 million people to the solid, righteous high ground necessary to maintain our status as the world’s benevolent superpower God has purposed us to be. May we pray aggressively for and seek leaders of this quality–leaders whose lives will eventually be passionately celebrated, leaders with the dignity and virtues of Queen Elizabeth II.