In the United States, meanwhile, we expect our elected officials, with their unelected spouses and children, to serve that public, ceremonial role. Which has meant First Children going through adolescence on the world stage, and spouses who’ve worked as lawyers and teachers pressed into thankless, unsalaried and highly-scrutinized service as hostesses in chief.
Wouldn’t it make sense to separate those spheres, the way they have in Iceland, where there’s an elected president to handle ceremonial tasks, and a prime minister to govern? We, too, could give the power to an elected official and keep a different person around to handle the hosting/ribbon cutting/Rose Garden tour-leading/gossip lightning-rod stuff.
We could keep it simple and give the gig to Miss America, who’s already been chosen and already has a tiara. Or we could have a televised reality contest (a roy-ality contest — see what I did there?) to elect our king and queen. We could recruit the glittering couples we think would be best suited for the job of representing America on the world stage (Beyoncé and Jay-Z! Jennifer Lopez and A-Rod! George and Amal Clooney! Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman! Ina Garten and Jeffrey!)