Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Fuss: Why I Loved the Wedding Hoopla Today

This morning, because of one glass too many of wine whilst watching silly TV, and my tendency towards insomnia, I woke, in spite of my deciding to blow it off and DVR it, at 3:30 am. I thought "Maybe I'll watch the Royal Wedding Live after all."  I loved it.  Teared up a couple of times.  Ended up feeling glad that I spent the time & effort to watch.

You might ask:  Why?  You're not even close to British, why do you care about these spoiled heirs, their wedding, the pomp, the taxpayers of England's bill?  Why did you spend four hours watching something when they don't even know you exist?  And also?  The princess motif is harmful to most women.  We can't be princesses, and we sell ourselves short if we decide to be "just." 

I am very tired now as a result, because, moms don't get the day off.  Field day, and juggling business needs, and grocery shopping, and gas filling up, all still happened in spite of watching princesses and princes wed in a lavish but somehow intimate ceremony in a place that I have happily walked. (Westminster Abbey was one of my favorite historic sites in London, and I even recognized on the TV one of the deacons or priests or vicars or whatever he actually was... he pointed me to Aphra Behn's grave, actually, which is in the courtyard there. He seemed a bit surprised and also pleased that I was looking for it, way back a few years ago, and I totally recognized him today bustling about.) 

I think my tiredness right now was ultimately worth it.  Why?  For one: I am an English major.  We are steeped like a hot tea bag full of black tea in a pot filled with literature, history, culture, and such.  Chaucer.  Shakespeare.  Virginia Woolf.  Aphra Behn. Oscar Wilde. J.M. Barrie. Arthur Conan Doyle.  Guy Ritchie. Terry Gilliam.

Much of it is British. I am ultimately an Americanist, a Modernist, someone who is filled with appreciation for popular culture, art, and all that makes us the Yanks we are.  But I do love my education.  I am glad to have the history that ties us to that tiny island.  And actually, from my Irish heritage on my father's side, I am about four generations back a British subject.

For two:  it's a wedding.  I like ALL weddings.  I teared up when Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro got married.   I like weddings!!  It is simply super cool and not at all ironic to celebrate love.  Commitment.  Faithfulness.  Hope.  It doesn't ultimately matter if they don't work out perfectly, because who does?  What matters, for a moment, is that weddings renew our own memory of our own special ties, of our own hearts filled with that optimistic leap into the future.

During the ceremony, the main preacher in charge mentioned that,  ALL weddings are royal weddings.  We are all partly touched by that hand of grace, of beauty, of joy.  Even if we step into a Justice of the Peace wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt bought at goodwill, we are participating in a gesture of hope and an abundantly optimistic view of the world wrought of the future.  Whatever happens, for a moment, we are Golden and even Pure.  It doesn't matter if we are not pure or golden in real life.  If we don't spend a lot of cash on the party.  If we aren't actually retiring to a castle where the servants are all small British teapots and talking Gallic candlesticks.

I have seen a lot of cynicism about the wedding.  Hell, I didn't watch on purpose any of the ridiculous media build up in the weeks before (I will admit it was on the TV at the gym, and so I have seen, if not heard because my earbuds were tuned to Charmed, during commercial breaks, a few segments on fashion and hats and the history of the Royal Couple's courtship.) 

I just have to say:  don't be a cynic.  Don't be disillusioned with the way people seem to be enthralled with this event.  If you don't want to watch, that is totally fine. You don't have to love it like I did. It was a damn long ceremony.  And frankly, the British taxpayers I saw didn't seem any more annoyed with footing the bill for the security (the family paid for all the other stuff, by the way) than WE do for an Inauguration ball and security, or a special airplane for every member of the Presidential family.  It's part of the deal. 

The danger of the internet Snark Fest is that you may actually, in trying to be "above it all" and away from the mass of public crowd-i-ness, actually miss the reason some of us are watching because I try to say nice things as often as possible.  So here is my nice thing:

Ultimately we really are all Princes and Princesses of our own little domains.  Even if we grew up in a trailer park or two (as I did) we have a moment where we are a princess.  I had my day of bride-zilla ness.  I don't think I was that bad, and my dress was bought at a consignment shop and my sister and Grandma catered my wedding.

And yes, my little princess won't wear a real diamond tiara, (she's more likely to own combat boots) and she won't preside over state dinners, (but she will grow up knowing which fork to use and basic rules of etiquette) she will go to college and learn about the world.  And maybe she'll stay home and raise her kids in an old fashioned way, or maybe she'll work and have a stay at home dad. 

And, like the two folks who got married today, I hope she will try her best to make the world a better place. 

And my little Prince will respect his wife (and all people).  He will not be too caught up in himself to notice that other people don't have it as easy as he did.  And he will be kind, and listen to those who love him, and he will try to learn from the mistakes of others. 

And I hope my Prince will try to make the world a better place, too.

Prince William has spent a night on the streets of London as a homeless person.  I haven't.  He didn't have to.  He has gone to Kenya and done environmental "missions" that are not the "pampered elite".  He lost his flawed but beloved mum when he was 15, in an incredibly public way, and as a result, has seemed to learn to take it slow and steady himself.  Harry has escorted a wounded soldier back from Afghanistan in a pointless war that hasn't ended.  He might be kind of a doofus, but he seems like that guy you knew in high school who screwed stuff up and partied a bit too much but ultimately was someone you could call if you had a flat tire on a rainy day.   Catherine seems committed to being a good person, and she is not a blushing virginal bride sucked into the abyss of breeder-hood and naive lies.  I actually don't know that much about her, to be honest, but the fact that the couple lived together, that her mom seems to be a pretty damned tough cookie who took her family from coal miner to Royalty in three generations is pretty fucking impressive. 

I don't know what they will do with their power, but in the prayer that they wrote, they seem committed to being good public servants.  I hope they will live up to what they asked today.
God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
There is a good lesson to be learned in that prayer.  Whether you are British or not, whether you are an anti-establishment type or not.  Whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Atheist.  We should all strive to: Serve.  Love.  Focus on what is real.  Share Joy and Love.  Appreciate your family.  Be generous.  Comfort others. 

In that light, why would I NOT want to watch a day of parties and joy, whether I am British, Martian, or what?

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have written a similar blog, long long ago (it usually comes in election years) about this but couldn't find it today to link to, so I'll just do it again. 

I am a Third Wave Feminist, a "Born Again Pagan," a radical wild dandelion tribe woman, a dancer & writer and many many other things.  One of those things includes being a (pause for effect) Republican.

Right now, the elected government has been being a pain in the butt.  The threatened government shutdown that luckily is not going to happen because they pushed a last-minute budget through (see what they can do when properly motivated?) has been stirring the pot.  But honestly....the reason why they finally compromised is because BOTH sides of the party aisle were being doody heads who wouldn't compromise on issues on which this country is going to have to learn to compromise.  Our budget is not healthy, and we collectively need to figure out a way to make it work.  I am not a financial genius, but there are plenty of them out there and we need to figure this crap out, and not make a ridiculous grandstand issue that makes us look like a bunch of fighting children.

But more to the point.  I have been a Republican since I registered to vote for the 1988 presidential election, a newly minted 18 year old voter.  Let me tell you, even then I didn't vote "party line"  and the candidate for president that I voted for didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning.  I voted for him anyway.

I didn't really know the difference back then (thanks a lot required Civics and American Government course that didn't really teach me anything.)  But the definition of Republican as "the party that governs LEAST" was appealing to me.  I don't think the government should be all up in anyone's business.  Especially personal, private business.  I also don't think the government should lean towards a social platform that aims to "fix" every social ailment by throwing (our, voters) money at it. 

I am crazy progressive on where to throw that money though.  Kids in this country should not go hungry.  They should get medical care.  They should be able to go to school, a good school, where teachers are well paid and respected.  If anyone in this country, whether they are a drug addict or model citizen, gets sick, they should be cared for by our medical industry without penalty, and at rates that are really affordable, and don't put them into debt forever.  I don't believe in handing out money willy nilly to adults who refuse to work, who spend that money on "welfare Cadillacs", either.  I am a "teach a man to fish" kind of person. 

I am pro-choice, pro-gun, pro-rehabilitation of criminals Majorly Pro Peace, anti-Imperialism. Pro-kick butt when necessary.  Pro Love, pro-John Lennon.  Pro-marriage of ALL kinds.  Pro-yoga, pro-attachment parenting, pro-healthy environment, pro-alternative energy research.  Pro-capitalism, making the free market direct research and progress. 

Now, to quibble a bit: I'm not entirely sure about the death penalty, though I know if someone killed, deliberately, someone I  love, that pro-gun part of me would want to take that someone out.  I said above I am pro-choice, but I have to admit that I am not especially fond of abortions.  I would like that option to be there, safe and legal, and don't think you should have a vote if you don't have a womb.  But I would like it to be a last ditch one for desperate moments... we should focus our energies on preventative measures, and also, on CHOOSING adoption and spend more money at making sure the children in our foster care system are truly cared for, and not just a paycheck for someone who isn't really caring for them.

Now.... all those things said.  I do not like the direction some Republicans go.  I will, given the option, fire their asses.  The super conservative neo-religious right part of the Republican party is not my friend, and I refuse to let them take over.  One of the reasons why that is the case is the reason why I am writing this post.

Republican bashing.  Hate against an entire group of people for the narrow-minded, negative actions of the loudest, most annoyingly squeaky wheels.  There is a reason why "the tea party" is trying to establish its own party, because it is NOT the Republican party.  It's a lot of whack jobs who make a lot of good soundbites on TV and so get reported.  A lot.  But they do not represent ME.  It is not synonymous with my party.

And people who I genuinely like, in trying to fight for rights and fight wrongs, who consider themselves liberal Democrats, but like to call Republicans nasty names.....seriously.... cut it out.

This is wrong, and it hurts my feelings, and I would like to point out the hypocrisy of a group that says they are open minded humanitarians who are bashing and hating on a lot of people THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW.  Replace the phrase "I hate Republicans" with any racial group or women or religious or ethnic group and you can see what you're doing.

I also want you all to know that there IS a voice in the Republican party for intelligent, liberal, thinking.  This is why, after all these years, I stay registered this way, even though for the last three presidential elections I have voted for  a third party candidate because I am SO ANGRY at the two main parties for being more of the same old same old, and offering me kool-aid laced with poison at every turn.

I just hate to see others drinking that poison without questioning their own built in biases.

I do NOT agree with the more ignorant jerkface Republicans who want to set women's rights back, and who want to criminalize miscarriage, and turn women into a walking womb/incubator with no choices.  An that is one reason why I stay registered.  To vote that kind of ignoramus OUT. 

I'm venting, because I want you to know.  Glenn Beck and the hate rhetoric of narrow minded idiots are not MY Republican party, but what party is it that contains those who are calling me nasty names simply because I stay here and try to keep fighting the good fight to bring my party back to the PARTY THAT GETS IN YOUR BUSINESS THE LEAST?  I do not think it's the government's right to tell me what to do on a daily basis, even if it's for my own good. 

Truly open your  minds, those of you who have called Republicans "Repugnicans" or "mean old white men" or "the rich who don't care anything for anyone but themselves."  Please.  And when you want to hate on people, be specific.  I don't mind you hating on the idiots, but try to not lump me in with them.  Hateful bigotry is hate, period. 

If the things you are saying are not actually making the world a better place, if they are making someone sick to their stomach every time they see your posts, then what are you doing in the world?