On the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement, Queen Elizabeth II arrived to commemorate the great occasion. And it took some fancy footwork for Her Majesty to run the Powhatan gauntlet.
For Her Majesty had been to Jamestown before, 50 years ago, in a less progressive era. As The Associated Press reported, "The last time the queen helped Virginia mark the anniversary of its colonial founding, it was an all-white affair in a state whose government was in open defiance of a 1954 Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools."
Now, "massive resistance" is history. And Her Majesty was quick to embrace the change: "(S)ince I visited Jamestown in 1957, my country has become a much more diverse society, just as the Commonwealth of Virginia and the whole United States of America have also undergone a major social change."
True. But are we better societies now than 50 years ago?
The latest reminder of diversity in Virginia was the massacre of 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech by a berserk Korean. And now that London is Londonistan, Muslim imams openly preach hatred of the West in mosques. Pakistani subway bombers find support in their community. Race riots are common in the northern industrial cities. Crime rates have soared. In areas of London, people fear to walk. Is this better than it was in 1957?
Last week, Scottish nationalists, many of whom wish to secede, swept past Labor to become the first party of Scotland. Welsh separatists also made gains. Following the Irish, the other Celts want out of the England of Elizabeth II. Is this better, Your Majesty?
The Great Britain of Tony Blair may be more diverse than the land of Victoria and Edward VII, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill -- but is it a better nation?
Only if one worships diversity can one say Britain is a better, stronger or greater country than she was on the eve of the Great War, a century ago, when Britannia ruled a fourth of the world.
But the new orthodoxy demands we say this. And Her Majesty was careful to conform. "Fifty years on, we are now in a position to reflect more candidly on the Jamestown legacy," said the queen, as she began to reflect less candidly.
At Jamestown, "Three great civilizations came together for the first time -- Western European, native American and African."
Well, that is one way to put it. Except that the Jamestown settlers were not Western Europeans but English Christians. And the first thing they did was build a fort to protect themselves from Powhatan's tribe, whom they thought might massacre them -- as they suspected Indians had massacred the Roanoke colony. Their leader, Capt. John Smith, barely escaped execution by Powhatan. Or so Smith tells it.