Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why I Do Actually Care About the Royal Wedding

I don't care about the Royal Wedding in the way that most care about it.  Not in the joyous, get up at 4am to watch it, thinking it is wonderful news in a world full of violence and sadness kind of way.  I care about it in the angry that tax payer money is being wasted when a large portion of their citizenry are fighting to make ends meet and many are not succeeding kind of way.  Weddings are joyous by nature, but this one is far too wasteful to bring me anything but sadness and anger.

Let's get one thing perfectly clear.  I wish William and Kate much happiness in their marriage and life together.  The same as I would wish any newly married couple or really any human being regardless of their situation. But that's just the point - These 2 individuals are no more important than you or me or anyone else on the planet.  William is no more important simply because he was born "royal". 

I don't always agree with the writings of Thomas Paine, but I think he hit the nail on the head with this one:
"To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and tho' himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them."

There are many estimates out there for how much money was spent on this wedding.  One estimate notes 20 million pounds.  Another source suggests that the bill is closer to 80 million pounds.  Yet another source discusses the cost of the event to the actual economy as a whole. 

I am a capitalist by nature.  I believe that if you work hard and earn money you should be able to use that money for whatever makes you happy.  Charlie Sheen is a perfect example.  He has worked hard on many television shows and movies and he has made ample money.  He has chosen to spend that money on hookers and drugs.  I'm okay with that.  It's his money and he earned it and the right to spend it as he pleases.  Bill Gates is another example.  He has more money that he knows what to do with and contributes mass amounts to charitable causes.  While I find Gates to be far more admirable than Sheen, I find neither of them to be right or wrong.  So if someone has earned millions of dollars and they want to spend it all on a lavish wedding I say go for it.

But here's the problem.  The members of the royal family do not have jobs.  They have not earned any of the mass amounts of wealth they possess.  So where do we think all the money that is paying for this wedding has come from.  The tax payers of course!  So I'm sure that since the tax payers are footing the bill, they were all invited right?  Of course not!  How silly!  What would they wear?

This brings me to why this makes me angry.  To forgive Charlie Sheen for feeding his drug and sex habit rather than feeding the poor is one thing - taking care of those less fortunate than him is not his responsibility.  To forgive the royal family for feeding their lavish lifestyle rather than taking care of their far less fortunate citizens is something completely different.  The money they are using is for the sole purpose of taking care of their people.  How would we feel if Stephen Harper or Barack Obama used tax dollars to pay for the extravagant weddings of their children - or even a modest ceremony for that matter.  There would be an uproar and possible criminal charges for misuse of public funds!!! 

An article from December 2010 stated that:
"Those dependent on emergency food boxes, which contain a three-day ration of essentials including tinned meat, fish and fruit, pasta, tea, milk and sugar, has increased from 25,000 two years ago to 60,000, of whom some 20,000 will be children. The organisation estimates that, on current trends, this would swell to 700 food banks feeding 500,000 people by 2015."
"Last week it emerged that 3.7 million children live in poverty in Britain with a record 2.1 million working families now below the breadline. The situation will get worse in coming months as food prices rise, VAT increases to 20 per cent, and job losses due to public sector cuts mount."
"Traditionally, the homeless have been the main beneficiaries of free food parcels. But organisers say they are increasingly helping families and working people. Some parents are so desperate they skip meals or contemplate crime to feed their children."

How sickening that tax dollars are going to celebrate, feed and entertain the rich while so many are suffering.