by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
February 28, 2007
ROYAL MANNERS ARE JUST JUST A ROYAL PAIN
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- If you want me to bow to you, be prepared to tell me what you did to earn it.
The only thing in the world more ridiculous than royalty is ordinary people's need to encourage and defend the asininity of royalty, even at this moment when Helen Mirren has won the best-actress Oscar for "The Queen."
One credible yardstick for evaluating people is: What do they do?
Royals are parasites. They feed off the labor of others. They don't contribute anything of lasting value and they, in fact, don't do much of anything except nod and wave, commit adultery, and show up for public functions where individuals without any sense of self throw kisses and garlands - reinforcing the myth that one person is more valuable than another.
Royals contribute almost nothing to the general welfare of the populace they claim to serve. The word "serve" from their lips is, in fact, a hollow, laughable word. Their food is served to them on silver trays, their clothes are washed for them by underpaid hands, and they snap their fingers for a chauffeur when they want to go somewhere. The spider webs in the high corners of their castles are somebody else's problem, and if a portion of one of those castles burns down, the queen is quick to think the overtaxed taxpayer should restore it to its original, meaningless beauty.
I am not a socialist. I don't think we should all live in identical houses by the side of identical streets, eating our identical government handouts in our government-issued identical clothing.
On the contrary, I am an adamant capitalist who
believes no form of government save capitalism works
well in the long-term picture of human history.
I can even stretch my mouth-puckering distaste for big government to recognize that some government is necessary. At least government employees work, pay taxes and manage to pretend they have my best interests at heart.
In matters of royalty, however, the "royals" work at nothing except getting richer and how to get to their lover's house without being spotted by the press.
I find it insufferable that a gilded, horse-drawn carriage carrying a jewel-bedecked, nodding princess rolls down the street while two blocks away a malnourished infant sleeps fitfully in a dirty crib. Her depressed mother can't feed her properly and pay part of the wages of the princess's personal maid at the same time.
Closer to home, I also find it insufferable that American congressmen soaking in a hot tub decide to give themselves another hefty pay raise while some waitress in the Washington, D.C., area wonders if she can make enough tips today to feed her children tonight.
But I digress from royal asininity.
The non-working royals don't function in a vacuum. To be pampered, adored, bowed-to; to live in castles, and wear crowns valued at enough to feed every hungry person in London for years; to think you are above the plumber who repairs the pipes in your glimmering gold bathroom - all such pretentious pomp takes a party of two: The pampered, and the adoring I'm-a-nobody fan.
Just as a ridiculous Madonna or Britney, or a pathetic Michael Jackson, cannot function without the adoring fans who make the stars' gaudy, glittering lifestyle possible, so too, the "royals" could not be munching on pheasants and crÍpes suzettes if part of the general population didn't need to believe in fairy tales - to believe that even though they are just an insignificant blob, they can, on occasion, wave at a real princess, a real queen.
Therein lies the rotten root of the royalty ridiculousness - the spiritually incorrect human premise that glitz, glimmer, glamour and gold makes one human being more valuable than another human being.
Is the bag lady on a London street less valuable than the conniving American congressperson who goes into his or her new office at an annual salary of $165,200 and comes out two years later a millionaire with a maid and a Mercedes?
Is Prince Charles, who has never earned a dime by the sweat of his aging, unattractive brow, more valuable than Plain Paul the Plumber who puts in a 60-hour week, gives the government one-fourth of his income, his church one-tenth of it, and his wife and children what's left?
Was Mother Teresa less valuable than Princess Diane?
Was Mahatma Gandhi less valuable than the king of Saudi Arabia, who can be trusted about as far as I can throw Balmoral castle?
We get what we deserve, says a wise friend of mine. We, the people, get what we deserve, what we expect, and what we will tolerate.
I hate to think that the depressed mother and her hungry baby are getting what they deserve, but the premise has merit.
With my love of almost all things British, it is difficult for me to reconcile pomp and poverty; difficult to fathom the practical purpose of a queen, and the self-deprecating needs of individuals who once lined the streets and screamed with foolish fervor as Fergie waddled by, grinning girlishly as she buys into the two-way brainless belief that for a few seconds she is a somebody more important than the adoring nobodys.
If the practical among the British believe the royal family is a necessary economic tourist attraction, I can handle that. What I can't handle is any individual catering to gold and glamour as yardsticks for measuring the real worth of a person.
I can't speak for you, but I wouldn't walk across the street on a hot day to meet Queen Elizabeth. I would, however, have crawled across the Sahara to take a thimbleful of fresh water to Mother Teresa.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is wroe for the Orlando Sentinel and now lives in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.