Great Britain, the United States and Canada mean a great deal to me and, I hope, others as well.
Mom's parents moved here from England in 1909. They were English working class and fine people. I count myself so lucky to have gotten to know such fine people as a boy growing up in New Jersey.
Dad's side of the family was, putting it mildly, somewhat different. Dad's father (Charles Divine) was my only grandparent born in the United States. He married a woman from Canada. All my interactions with my Canadian relatives have been wonderful. They are bright, thoughtful, warm, caring people.
My paternal grandfather came from an unusual family. His father Michael Divine was born in Ireland in 1828. By the time my grandfather was born in 1869, he was a lawyer in the United States. Michael Divine married a woman from England with the name Angelina Elizabeth Donne which is how I am related to John Donne.
Why do I bring these things up? Partly to let people know what is going on in my mind while I am writing this.
400 years ago King James was an opponent of Magna Carta. My ancestor John Donne, along with lots of other people, were strong supporters of Magna Carta. Magna Carta was an important advance to the kind of free democratic societies many of us value today.
King James died of natural causes in 1625. His successor was one King Charles I. He has been described as an absolute dictator. My ancestor John Donne died of natural causes (think stomach cancer possibly) in 1631. King Charles I? His absolute dictatorship led to the English Civil War. As a result of that war, King Charles I was executed. Great Britain moved in the direction of being more free and democratic. Still, though, it was not as free and democratic as the UK is today.