Paul Jacob

Apparently, my county doesn't have much class. In fact, we in Prince William County, Virginia, have so little class that we're actually having to import some. From overseas.

You see, we're feverishly preparing for the county's 275th anniversary. My goodness, it arrives in 2006! It's practically here.

Admittedly, a few short days ago I didn't even know that 275 was one of those magic, mandatory celebration numbers. Come to find out, it has its own word ? a really long, Spelling Bee quasi-stumper ? something like "semisesquicentennial."

Of course, to me, the whole "event" smacks of yet another excuse to spend tax dollars ? a fallback, just in case we don't extract quite enough civic pride from recently witnessing our elected officials slap down 56 million tax-dollars to build the county's new performing arts center, modeled after Milan's La Scala opera house.

No need to go to Milan now. Can't afford to ? but that's a (mostly) separate issue.

The issue at hand is a much more serious affront to our Republic. My county's officialdom has decided to extend an invitation to Britain's Prince William, the 22-year-old "royal heartthrob," to peruse our humble county in 2006 so that "his Majesty" the Prince can bestow his royal stature on our august anniversary.

You know Prince William. He's the son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, both of tabloid fame. We grew up with him. We place his picture on our mantles next to our own kids'. We read the National Enquirer.

In The Washington Post, Nikita Stewart writes, "A royal appearance would be, by far, the highlight of the yearlong celebration. . . ." By far? And I know it's Christmas time, but as a taxpayer, really . . . a "yearlong celebration" does sound a bit pricey.

Liz Barhns, a spokesperson for the county, is excited about a possible visit by the young prince. She says, "He could bring a little class. . . ."

And her comment got me thinking . . . just what's so classy about the British Royal family?

Is it that, for centuries, they've found a way to live in luxury off the hard work of others? At least for today's more-hip Prince William, whose royalness is only an unfortunate accident of birth, his job calls mostly for photo-ops. He hasn't been obliged to oppress folks, run an empire, or kill any of his enemies.

But for goodness' sake, he's shilling for the monarchy!


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.