Maybe you won't agree with what I'm about to say, but I think the way people get married (or handfasted) says a great deal about their values.
You'll hear some women say, "This is my day, and I want it to be like a fairy tale -- perfect from start to finish." Yes, honey. Any one day can be like that. Now go live the rest of your life, wondering if you spent too much time planning a wedding and not enough time getting to know your groom.
You'll see men, bleary-eyed and wasted from bachelor parties featuring strippers and excessive drinking. If I'm a self-respecting woman, do I want to tie myself to someone who does this kind of thing?
But the worst offenders, in my eyes, are the people who turn weddings into playbooks for wretched excess. If you've got it, flaunt it. Right?
I'll bet you can guess where I'm going with this.
There's little clear fact clinging to Chelsea Clinton's nuptials. An anonymous spokesman for the family said the wedding cost "in the six figures." But other estimates, based on the people the Clintons have hired for planning, the venue, the designer creating the dress, the catering, etc., have placed the price tag at $3 million.
Either way, six figures or seven, this is the height of hypocrisy. It is vindicating my choice of Obama in the primary race (although we have yet to see how being president will mold Obama and his family).
You cannot run for president among blue collar workers, touting your own blue collar background, and then turn around and approve a million-dollar wedding at the summer playground of John Jacob Astor. This wretched excess sends a clear message to the American people that, while the price tag is chump change to you, at least you have the change. The people who voted for you don't.
I personally got up in the wee hours to watch Princess Diana's lavish wedding ... and enjoyed every minute of the ceremony. What's the difference between Diana and Chelsea Clinton? Diana was about to be a princess. With no genuine ties to the governance of England. This nation, although founded by wealthy white men, at least should give lip service to the "created equal" philosophy. If Chelsea Clinton has two sons who are not called "The Heir" and "The Spare" by the press, why should she cavort like a princess? Isn't she a ... democrat?
This is only my opinion, but the daughter of our Secretary of State should not be getting married in the style of royalty, surrounded by doting television celebrities and movie directors. It's bad form. It sends a message about our collective national values.
Last night I was reading in bed. I came upon the following paragraph, describing a diplomatic mission Benjamin Franklin undertook in March of 1776 to try to win Canadian support for American independence. Franklin was 70. It was March. The destination was Montreal.
"They rowed in a small boat up the Hudson, had to fight their way through ice on Lake George, landing frequently on shore to light fires and drink tea. They slept in the forest at night, two in the woods, Franklin on the boat. They had forgotten to bring camp cots with them. To get to Lake Champlain, they had to go through the woods by portage. It was agony for the gout-ridden septuagenarian. They had set out in March and arrived in Montreal at the end of April."
-- Triumph in Paris: The Exploits of Benjamin Franklin, by David Schoenbrun.
Later in that same year, 1776, Franklin sailed for Paris. That Atlantic sea voyage -- into the teeth of November gales -- almost killed him.
Franklin wouldn't have turned down an invitation to Chelsea Clinton's wedding. He liked his creature comforts. But would there be anyone at the wedding with whom he cared to converse? Any scientists, any economists, any philosophers? Oh well, I would imagine Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are both going to be there. So maybe our founding father would have amiable companions, even though he might find himself seated next to Barbra Streisand for the wedding toast.
My point is that Benjamin Franklin struggled for this country, putting his body and fortune equally at the mercy of a long-odds cause. Would our Clinton family do this? Or are they rather behaving like the final residents of Versailles, oblivious in a protective cocoon of privilege?
Bad form. A shameless spectacle behind closed doors. Where cake will be served.