When things aren't going so well in this country, which for most of us seems like most of the time, we like to blame the president

When things aren’t going so well in this country, which for most of us seems like most of the time, we like to blame the president. That’s particularly true in an election year when those trying to unseat the incumbent point the finger at the president as the person to blame for everything from high unemployment to bad breath. Why? Because the president is the head of state, the chief executive, the commander in chief and the head honcho.
So why is it that, in the United Kingdom, you never hear Brits (or Canadians or Aussies or Scots, etc.) say something like, “Why doesn’t the Queen get off her royal arse and do something about these high gas prices?”
The Queen is, after all, the head of state, the chief executive, the commander in chief and the head honcho, or perhaps the head honchess, of not just England but the entire United Kingdom.
Truth is neither the president of the United States nor the Queen of England possess the power to control the private sector to the extent that either can force it to create jobs, lower gas prices or stop the production of Justin Beiber records.
So why do the Brits almost universally love their Queen while here in the states we almost universally loathe our president, regardless of who holds the office?
Perhaps the answer lies in the differences between how the two nations are governed. While both are democracies, even Brits vote on members of parliament, their version of Congress, the Queen, the anointed monarch, actually has more power than our president. While the president in this country is sworn to uphold the Constitution and propose policy, he (or she) has very little power to force policy changes thanks to the checks and balances built into our system of government. Not that it doesn’t stop us from making him or her the scapegoat.
While we like to think of the Queen as just a figurehead whose primary purpose is to wear funny hats, smile and perfect that silly wave of hers, she actually holds a great deal of power. While in this country we are governed by a Constitution, in England, which has no constitution, the Queen decides what’s best for the nation. She is, in essence, the Supreme Court.
As commander in chief, the Queen can declare war without anyone’s approval. She also has the power to disband the country’s armed forces, again without anyone’s OK. She sets policy in a speech at the opening of each session of parliament and instructs the prime minister to implement it. If parliament fails, she has the power to dissolve it and order new elections.
Think what that would mean in this country if the president could dissolve Congress.
So when Brits say, “God save the Queen!” maybe what they’re really saying is, “God save us from the Queen!”
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at marty.russell56@gmail.com.