Passport to Poconos – The King and I

America has never had a king so our celebrity scandals are limited to celebrities such as the Kardashians. But in Spain, we have the royals to give us breathless headlines.

Last week the King of Spain abdicated in favor of his son, Felipe. Felipe is mid-forties, good looking, and educated. By contrast, his father, Juan Carlos has been the subject of rumors about numerous affairs and a high life style. All this while the country was suffering from an economical crisis. Juan Carlos´s daughter, Cristina, is married to a man about to go on trail for larceny. So it may be a good time to step down.  It wasn’t always this way, which is why many people still respect the king.

I remember my father telling us about his childhood, when the Spanish Civil War started. The country was divided by opposing armies. Where you were when the war started was where you stayed until it ended. My grandmother had taken her young sons to visit her family in a village in Aragon, a region between Madrid and Barcelona. My grandfather stayed in Barcelona. Then family could not travel home for three years. My father and his family and everybody from that era suffered, both because of the enforced separations, and because of the lack of food. My father, like people from his generation, was obsessed by food. He always had to have a full fridge.

The winner of the war was General Franco, a dictator who governed the country as  “His Excellency the Head of State.” It lasted almost forty years. I remember how fearful everyone was about following the rules. When Franco died in 1975, he named his successor to be King Juan Carlos I, from the Bourbon dynasty.  But rather than continue like Franco, this king believed in democracy. With new freedoms, people went to the other extreme; nudity was introduced in magazine and movies. Freedom after all those years of oppression was a breath of fresh air.

Panic returned in 1981 when the military tried to take power again. The king saved democracy by coming on TV in his military uniform, showing he was the real commander, and announcing that he stood for democracy. So that is why people still love him.

But TV and social media now expose all the petty scandals and hidden lives of the royal family that could be kept secret before. I think the time of kings being brave leaders is over. In Spain, many people now are asking for a referendum so that they can decide if they want to continue with the Monarchy (whom we support with their taxes), or a Republic.

These thoughts make me appreciate how hard the framers of the US constitution worked to create our nation. Everybody worked hard to create this country. It’s not perfect, but we still need and want to believe in the American Dream.

Christina’s radio show, Tu Voz con Christina, is at 8 a.m. every Sunday on Pocono 96.7. Email:

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