Sunday, August 1, 2010

Letter to Chelsea Clinton

Dear Chelsea Clinton,

How you doin', girl? Long time no see. Actually long time never see, since we have never met. But I and millions of people like me feel we sort of know you in a superficial, media-enhanced way, because we've seen you grow up right in the middle of a huge spotlight.

Anything new with you? What's that you say - you got married yesterday? Get. Out. Of. Town. Seriously? That is so cool. It seems like only yesterday they trotted you out on stage at the 1992 Democratic Convention, after they nominated your father for the Presidency. I don't think it's an outrageously uncharitable thing to describe you as "gawky" because most 12-year-olds are pretty gawky. But I remember seeing you with your happy, toothy grin and vast mane of frizzy, curly hair and thinking, she actually looks kind of normal, a girl-next-door type. That would have been totally true if I lived next to the White House, which is where you lived for a lot of the next 8 years. It's impossible for me to understand how that would have felt like. I mean, living in the White House would have been an amazing, astounding experience but I also think it would have been an enormous pain in the butt sometimes.

Your parents tried to keep you and your teenage life relatively quiet and out of public scrutiny as much as possible, which I think was a good thing. It must have been tough because at least for me, when I did something stupid as a teenager at least half the free world didn't find out about it twenty minutes later. I wonder if and how you managed to fit in all the naughty things teenagers do as just a normal part of growing up, what with 500 secret service agents tailing you all the time. Too bad your father couldn't have been as cautious with his behavior, because I can't possibly imagine what you had to go through with the media firestorm surrounding his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment. How could you go out in public and hold your head up with some semblance of dignity when the entire nation was buzzing about what your father did with cigars in a closet next to the Oval Office? Or the bizarre spectacle of him publicly pondering what the definition of "is" is?

I know you had to develop a thick skin being First Daughter, and that's a difficult thing to do as a teenager, because you're so self-conscious and critical of yourself at that point in your life. It's really hard to have the self-esteem and self-confidence you needed so badly to deal with in that position. I remember hearing some loutish Republican Congressman making a snide comment about you, for no good reason other than sheer hatefulness. I can't remember the Congressman nor the remark, but I do remember feeling a lot of anger and outrage that a grown man would take to making snide, nasty comments about a teenage girl who always looked so pleasant and sweet. It gave me the first of many, many indications on how hateful, vicious, mean-spirited and degenerate Republicans can be, and my opinion of them has only gotten worse from that point on.

But hey, that was some wedding you guys put on. The media buzz was deafening weeks in advance, and there was much speculation about the glittering array of celebrities whom we assumed would be in attendance. But it turned out that Oprah and Barbra and bunches of other luminaries were not on the list. The FAA even declared a no-fly zone above the wedding area to keep paparazzi helicopters from buzzing the area and doing something unseemly. And how many brides get their own air space for their wedding?

Speaking of unseemly, I would never want to rain on anybody's parade on what was probably the most important and magical day of their life, but didn't you think for one tiny second that some of these lavish preparations could be construed as a bit excessive? There was the $600,000 air-conditioned tents, $200,000 for security and a very high-profile wedding planner. We know that the two families involved are prominent, and your dad is an ex-President and your mom the current Secretary of State, so you do have a couple of nickels to rub together. All these things added up to a final tab estimated to be in the range of $2-3 million dollars, which is kind of amazing. Doesn't it make you feel just a little bit ... well, I'm not sure of the right word here. I would never want a bride to feel "guilty" about her wedding because guilt implies someone intentionally did something wrong. But don't you feel a little bit, shall we say, "morally discomfited" about:

1) the fact that millions of people spend 40-50 years toiling at a job and they don't make as much money during that time as you spent for a single-day event.
2) what 2-3 million dollars could have accomplished if given to homeless shelters, animal shelters, or food pantries across the nation.
3) the on-site emergency plumbers and electricians were forced to wear tuxedos on the job, so that the wedding guests would not be grossed out to within an inch of their lives if someone in work clothes bent over and shot a load of ass crack at them.

But that's okay, we still love you, Chelse. You have had a life of great privilege and opportunity, and also a life of extreme scrutiny and at times completely undeserved criticism. We know you have suffered mightily but also had so many doors opened to you, based mostly on your natural talents, of course, but also by virtue of your family name and pedigree. But in spite of some of the batshit-crazy, media-blender aspects of your life, you have turned into a very beautiful, poised, intelligent and successful woman. You are truly a role model for all of us, and a monument to the tenacity and determination of the human spirit to triumph over whatever nonsense the universe throws us. You deserved your day in the sun and the very best wishes from everyone all over the world.

Just don't get divorced. Ever.


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