It is not every day that you can say you made a Monarch laugh, making yesterday an incredible first Staatsfeiertag in the country that I am lucky enough to now call home. Apparently something got lost in translation leading his Serene Highness to believe that my name was Barbie. Once he started signing the book I realized the miscommunication and stated that my name was actually Alexis. Plenty of laughs ensued, the book was signed, and I now have one heck of a story. All in all, my first Liechtenstein National Day could be considered a smashing success.
Growing up as an American, it is pretty much unimaginable that would have the opportunity to meet a previous Head of State, let alone the current Head of State. Thanks to some stellar organizations I have been a part of, I have had opportunities to be in close proximity to important American political figures such as the Attorney General, Justices of the United States Supreme Court, or sitting Senators. That being said, in the same room as Neil Gorsuch or Jeff Sessions is nothing in comparison to being able to have an actual conversation with an individual tasked with running a country. Thus, making this human element of accessibility one of the many things that makes this country so incredibly special.
Much like the Prince points out in his book The State in the Third Millennium, the United States political system suffers from the deficiency that politicians are focused on “buying votes,” accomplished by strong rhetoric putting forth empty promises, as opposed to actually keeping the citizens’ best interest at heart. But, as the Prince further points out, this is a deficiency of the system, not necessarily of the politicians taking part in the system. Therefore, in Liechtenstein, unlike in the States, even the Prince himself can be focused on making real changes for the benefit of his subjects as opposed to worrying about re-election.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of US politicians that want to ensure their constituents interests are taken into account. Anyone who has been involved with anything concerning Rand or Ron Paul can testify to this first hand, myself included. The difference becomes, Liechtenstein just presents an incredibly unique situation where you can have a conversation with the man in charge, as opposed to a conversation with one of many men or women representing a small part of the whole.
Long story short, yesterday was one for the books. Whether it was laughing with the Prince in the Rose Garden, watching the light show of national pride projected on the castle, or just having the opportunity to meet some of the locals, there is no doubt in my mind that August 15, 2018 will always have a special place in my heart. Here’s to a future full of more stories and adventures in this majestic country tucked away in the Alps.