Wednesday, August 06, 2008

More ranty goodness...

So here I am, on the flip side of 30 and living a better life than I did at 20. Some people talk about wanting to be 20 or 25 again. I wouldn't go back if you paid me. I lead a good life. I am more conscious of the world around me. I am free to think and say what I want and be who I am. Some days that makes me so happy it almost hurts. Other days I also feel the burden of knowledge.

The other night I went out to grab some dessert for Tiff and I. When I returned she was watching "Platinum Weddings" on WE. I sat down to enjoy some mindless television with her. As the show progressed there were two things that stood out to me. The first was the ridiculous amount of money this woman was spending on an event that would only last a few hours. I understand the feminine desire for a nice wedding. I get that these can be pricey. This woman blew over $500,000 for this event, including a $30,000 cake, $120,000 in jewels, and thousands of other insane items. Her mother was footing a large part of the bill. Her mother was born and raised in Haiti. Haiti is one of the nations the U.S. State Department advises U.S. citizens not to travel to due to political unrest. It also has a child death rate of one in eight, rampant poverty, and starvation. The cost of this woman's wedding could feed thousands of Haitian children for a long time. I understand this woman's right to spend her money however she wants. I am just aghast at such conspicuous consumption from someone whose roots are in a land that is dying more every day.

Then I remember that even here in this country children die of malnutrition. Every day in this country, millions of children will go hungry. We need not look to the third world to find starvation and needless death. We in the richest nation on earth need only travel a few miles in any direction. Every day thousands of uninsured children are turned away from medical care that could save their lives because their parents make too much for free medical care but not enough for insurance. Every day in every city in America there are children whose only meal of the day is the lunch provided at their school.

Have we become the new Roman Empire? Has the American elite forgotten the fall of Caesar? In a land where children are dying it takes someone truly self centered to burn that much money, a fraction of which could spare hundreds of people suffering, on such a self indulgent exercise in narcissism. Weddings should be about the sharing of love and the vowing of devotion, not spending enough to feed a small country as an opulent display of self love and delusions that you are important. The woman in this story kept referring to this wedding as "her day." The groom almost seemed to be more of a decoration than half of this ceremony.

My wife and I are examples that a wedding doesn't have to cost much to have real meaning. We were married on the beach and the most expensive thing was the minister for $100. Even if you factor in the rings which were purchased much earlier our wedding cost less than $3,000. We have been married almost seven years now and I love her more today than the day we said, "I do." What I love most about her is the way she loves me, with her whole heart and unconditionally.

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