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Ceremony and equality


Returning from riding the Selkirk Marches, riders gallop in at The Toll / Image: Wiki

"On the one hand we like pomp, ceremony and ritual, and are rather good at providing these things: pipes and drums, kilted regiments, the Company of Archers (the Queen’s official bodyguard in Scotland), the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Common Ridings in the Borders, and such like. On the other, we like to think of ourselves as. . .egalitarian, and informally egalitarian. . . .An unofficial national anthem is Robert Burns’s A Man’s a Man for a’ That, with its assertion of the brotherhood of man; it was very movingly sung, in the presence of Her Majesty, at the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament in 1999."

Don't many of us share these feelings? Feeling deepened and enlarged by ceremony while needing the oxygen of equality?

. . .How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.
-Yeats, A Prayer for My Daughter

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. . .American Declaration of Independence /7 signers were born in Britain, all but one of the remaining 49 were descended from British settlers.

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