I was a little confused by the article written by Noel McCarthy. From the title, “A royal mess: Why Sweden can’t have its own Obama”, I was prepared to read a discourse on how diversity needs to be brought into the lawmaking and, more to the point, the lawmakers of Sweden. It, instead, was a complaint that while Sweden’s foreign policy demands democratic diversity in other countries’ elections, that it does not hold itself to such a demand.
Fair enough, while Sweden does hold free and democratic elections, it still holds on to its monarchy, at least in “ceremonial functions.” So the Swedish Constitution allows the King to hand out some medals and make a speech on National Day. But there doesn’t seem to be any sinister “huge amount of informal power for which he cannot be held to account by the electorate”.
The author also seems to miss his point by using the idea that not being of the “pure evangelical faith” prevents someone from being the royal leader. I would think that if my mother and father weren’t already the King and Queen, I would have a less than outside chance.
My belief as to why Sweden keeps the royals around is that Their Majesties provide a direct link to Sweden’s past. If one were to take into account that when you listen to the King speak about the goodness of the Swedish people, you sense that your father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on also listened to that kind of reinforcement.
It’s the idea that this King is related to your descendant’s King that is the comfort. He is a Swede as you are, and that generates the pride in being Swedish. The King (or Queen) is the living touchstone to your nation’s past.
As an American, with the disposable leaders we have, one gives deference to the Office of The President, not to the guy who warms the chair.
While the future Swedish Obama might have a problem being elected as Prime Minister (and that would be the better discussion), he could be. His being elected King is a moot point. We can’t choose who our parents are.