Monday, July 06, 2009

A Roman Catholic Man in Oregon

There is a white cross sitting atop a Veterans of Foreign Wars monument in the Mojave Desert. It has been there since 1934. It has been watched over, tended to and loved since its inception. It is out of the way but situated on government land. A citizen in Oregon deems it offensive. Although he has never seen it the mere thought of driving by it at some mythical point in the future has him beside himself. He has run to the ACLU (or they have run to him) to protect his rights. This case has now risen to The Supreme Court of The United States of America.
I do not claim to know the history of this memorial other than what I have read in recent days. Those who chose to honor their family members and friends that died in World War I wished to have a cross atop this edifice. That is enough for me.
As for the Oregon man and his defenders I would simply suggest that he (and they) not go see the monument. This would save countless precious resources – including this awesome memorial.

So, What Shall We Tell Them, Steve?

That you were a great athlete? That you raised yourself up from nothing and became a hero? That you ruled the NFL with your cunning, your arm and your feet? That you held camps for young wannabes and became their mentor? That you took us to the Super Bowl and led us within 5 feet of victory? That you were a benevolent citizen in this sweet, southern town? That you ended up in a pool of blood in a small condominium?
Oh my, what more did you want, Steve? You must have wanted more than we could give you.

Kings, Princes & Gods

When Elvis Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sulllivan Show I was sitting on the floor in front of my uncle’s console television set riveted by the charisma of the dark, writhing figure on the screen. Although I was only 4 years old I sensed that my dad was displeased with what we were witnessing. His voice was loud and stern and he finally got up and left the room.
Ten years later I was in the back seat of a Pontiac station wagon returning from a short vacation with my mom and dad when the radio blurted a news report that John Lennon had stated, ‘The Beatles were bigger than Jesus.’ This didn’t sit well with my dad; as a matter of fact he lost it. I don’t recall the details of his tirade but suffice to say, Roy Schuyler did not agree with John Lennon’s assessment.
On June 25, 2009 Sarah and I were preparing to take a rest after a long hike through the Rockies when a ‘Breaking News’ bulletin reported the death of Michael Jackson. We received the news with surprise and curiosity. Gifted as he was, he was also weird and troubled – certainly there was something sinister lurking behind this sad event. Since that day this story has trumped all other news coverage including reports that tickets to his memorial service are being sold on eBay for $10,000.
In the years since their demise millions have lined up at Graceland, Abbey Road and The Dakota to pay homage to Elvis and John Lennon. One suspects that Jackson’s Neverland will become a new Mecca. It is most understandable: in my lifetime no other entertainers have come close to the impact of these 3 gentlemen. They have been dubbed ‘Kings’ and ‘Princes;’ in the case of Mr. Jackson it has even been stated that he was ‘The God of Pop.’ They are imitated, emulated, praised and worshipped. The harsh truth about these tragic heroes however, is that they died young in dark circumstances, tortured, it seems, by fame and success; isolated, peculiar and, at times, bizarre. Kings? Princes? Gods? Role models? I don’t think so…
I have wished everyday for 40 years that my dad was still around for all the obvious reasons. I would love to hear what he had to say about all this news coverage of Michael Jackson’s passing. I’m sure it would not sit well with him. Like father, like son…