As I do every year, on this January 27 I phoned my liege lord and reporting senior, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to offer congratulations on his birthday. I expected to find him in high spirits, thanks to the growing Reichsburger movement in today’s Germany, which recognizes that he was the country’s last legitimate government. Nor is that all: Germans are organizing a new, grass-roots movement to put Prussia back on the map. The Hohenzollerns’ stock is on the rise, and rightly so.
After a few rings, the telephone was answered, not by His Majesty but by Her Majesty, Kaiserin Augusta Victoria. She was beloved by the German people, and I was delighted to be able to tell her that she still is. But I still needed to speak to her Willi.
“His Majesty expected your call,” she said, “and would love to speak with you, but right now he is unreachable. The Reisekaiser is off on a grand tour of the United States, and the crowds welcoming him are so vast and enthusiastic that he cannot predict his schedule. He requested that you talk with me instead.”
“Well, I am both honored and delighted with the opportunity to do so,” I replied. “But I must say I’m curious as to why he is receiving such a rapturous reception in my country. He deserves it, of course, but just over a century ago Americans looked on him with somewhat less favor.”
“Yes, well, they now know what they were told about him and the German Empire were all British lies. But more than that, they know the dirty little man they elected President, Mr. Wilson, also lied to them. They did not want to go to war, and they re-elected him because he promised not to, and then in a month after his inauguration he did. And all those American boys died, and the Spanish flu was brought to America, with America fighting for the wrong side. I understand the Devil has given Mr. Wilson quite a splendid palace in Hell. It even has air conditioning!”
“Yes, well, he earned it,” I replied. “But I think people nowadays would like to hear what you, and all the other good Christian women in Heaven, think about our time. You represented everything good in women, not just German women but women everywhere. What do you have to say to us?”
“Well, for me and for all the women here, it is just sad, very sad. We do not understand why so many women in your time have unsexed themselves. They want to live the lives of men! Why? Do they not understand that women’s work is not only different from mens’ it is more, not less, important? It is women who pass the culture, our Western, Christian culture, on to the next generation, boys and girls alike, as mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, neighbors, and friends. When women fail to do that duty, it goes undone, because it is not natural to men. And when it is not done, civilization itself is lost, as you see all around you. Oh, when we compare our time to yours, we weep. Why do you think that when the Blessed Virgin appears in your world, she does so weeping?”
“So when your husband said women are for “Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche” –children, the kitchen, and the church – he was not putting them down?”, I asked.
“No, not at all,” the Kaiserin replied. “Men and women are equal but different. Up here, that difference is celebrated. After all, did not the Virgin Mother herself devote her life to her child, her kitchen, and the newly-created church? What higher calling could we have then hers?”
“So what would your message be to American and German women today,” I asked?
“Just be a woman!” she said. “But there is something more I would say to some of your women, the black women in America. The pain you are suffering as your young men shoot and murder each other is something you can stop. And perhaps only you can stop it. How? Refuse to have anything to do with young black men unless they get rid of their guns. Take a page from 19th century women in the Temperance Movement. They said, ‘Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine,’ and that convinced many young men to give up their drinking. Tell your men that it’s us or the guns, you can’t have both. Organize a pledge campaign, march in the streets, take your sons by their ears to the gun buy-backs.”
“So sometimes women do need to get out of the kitchen, you’re saying?” I asked.
“Yes! But not by becoming men. The women who did so much good in the Temperance Movement still dressed like women, had the manners of women, kept their homes clean, and put three good meals on the table each day for their men. Women’s moral power comes from being women, not pretend men. And because we use that moral power only when men fail, we are stronger than men.”
“And America’s black women should see Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata?”
“Yes, exactly,” said Her Majesty, laughing.
“Well, it sounds to me as if you should follow his Majesty and visit my country. Our women need to hear you.”
“Willi said exactly the same thing in his last cable. He told me the Imperial Zeppelin will be at my disposal, and I look forward to the trip. He said the President’s daughter, that nice girl Alice Roosevelt, would love to be my hostess.”
“Hmm, Alice Roosevelt? ‘Nice’ was not the adjective usually applied to her. You, the nicest woman in all of Germany, and she should be an entertaining combination. Well, thank you, Your Majesty, and please pass my birthday best wishes on to your husband. And let me close by saying all Germany awaits your return mit Ungeduld.” “Komme gleich,” als die Osterreicher sagen,” she replied with a laugh. And so she rang off