Over the last several days, since the death of Whitney Houston, I have noticed a rather disturbing trend in social media.
Many conservatives, and among them my friends, have been posting photos and names of soldiers who have recently died and scolding those who have posted thoughts regarding Whitney Houston.
I get it, to a point. I do.
A celebrity dies vs soldiers who die. I get it.
Unexpected death? Tragic end? I get it.
There is a difference and it’s not about giving one more credit than the other.
Houston’s death was expected. Unfortunately it WAS expected and people have speculated for nearly a decade, that her end, due to a lifestyle which laid waste to common sense, was near. Houston had messed up her life, and like so many other celebrities, she had people around her who simply didn’t care enough to stop her, or try to stop her.
Yes, she made her decisions and in so doing, she lost the voice, the looks and the talent God gave her.
I get it.
I felt exactly that way when Amy Winehouse died last year. It was her fault and she could well have done something to keep it from happening.
What I didn’t do then and won’t do now, is compare her demise with those who have lost their lives protecting our country, our freedoms and our way of life.
I believe we, as conservatives, are better than this or, at least, we should be. We should know better.
Those who make this comparison are pitting oranges against apples.
Those who have died or been wounded while wearing our nation’s uniform are heroes. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, and others around the world in the name of liberty and freedom.
They give their lives so others can live free.
A higher form of heroism I can’t begin to imagine.
People like Whitney Houston are celebrities rather than heroes.
Entertainers rather than role models.
Through them, we escape the reality that those in uniform can’t.
Whitney Houston, for all her faults – and yes, they were many – provided a soundtrack to which many of those dismissing her grew up.
Her music, her movies provided us with a sense of emotion and joy. Was that so wrong?
Many who now discourage the thoughts of others regarding Whitney Houston may not really know all the things she did before the fall.
She advocated the removal of apartheid in South Africa.
She had a foundation for children.
She was by many accounts of those who knew her, a most generous person.
She grew up singing in a church.
There is a school named after her in New Jersey and her family is asking that donation, in her name, be sent there.
Whitney Houston sang for the troops.
That’s right, she entertained the very people we are being told were so far above her that we should forget her.
Does that seem like the right thing to do? Does it seem proper?
Let me ask this question; How many men or women wearing the uniform of our armed services have you ever met who believe they are better or more worthy than anyone else?
Yes, they live in tents, in parts of the world where no right-thinking person would visit, they eat meals from a pouch, they are often cold or wet or suffering from the heat. They carry everything they need to survive and people, our enemies, are trying to kill them day and night.
I get it.
Celebrities, on the other hand, sleep in 2,400-thread-count sheets, in mansions or the finest hotels, they eat gourmet meals on fine china, they are never too hot or too cold and they have people to carry FOR them, all the things they own but don’t really need.
I get it.
Apples and oranges.
One group feels the need to fight on our behalf.
One group lives the life of entitlement.
Celebrities are not heroes and we should not try to elevate them to that status. Celebrities are spoiled, ego driven, narcissists.
Soldiers who serve with honor are heroes and not celebrities. Trying to equate them to “celebrities” is, in reality, bringing them down several notches. Why would we want to do THAT?
Really. I get it.
If I saw a post in any social media that said a celebrity, say, Whitney Houston, was better than any soldier, or even stated she was a hero, I would approach that poster with sincerity and ask, really? You really feel that way? What of those then who lay down their lives for your freedom?
I have not seen such posts.
What I HAVE seen is someone posting that they will miss Whitney Houston, or they will always remember her music, and with THAT, they are lit upon by some who feel any expression of feeling toward Houston is somehow belittling our military men and women.
How many of those who excoriate the thoughts of some who post a remembrance of Miss Houston have a favorite song with which they sing along? How many watch a movie and enjoy it or an actor in it? How many attend a concert and talk about how cool it was after?
One wonders if they believe THEY are belittling our military while they sing, or watch, or dance?
Can we, as conservative not appreciate both groups…soldiers and celebrities?
I love our military men and women and hold them in the highest possible regard. While I don’t put celebrities in that category, I can also appreciate what they do.
True, I have never been chased by the demons that caught Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson, or Winehouse or so many others and I feel lucky for that. I have also never been shot at or had to endure what soldiers and their families go through, and for that, I feel lucky too.
Those soldiers, the ones who fight, the ones who came home hurt and yes, especially those who never made it home alive, gave me freedom. They gave me liberty. They gave me protection and security. How does one even begin to put into words what they mean to us all?
Whitney Houston gave me music. She gave me fun, laughter and at times, like when she sang the National Anthem, she made my heart soar.
Apples and oranges.
Whitney Houston was brought down by the demons she allowed into her life.
Those soldiers were brought down by the evil out to destroy all our lives.
I am not saying, by any means, that celebrities like Whitney Houston be placed on pedestals. She had all the advantages our soldiers never have and she didn’t handle them nearly as well as she should have.
I get it.
While I certainly didn’t agree with the life choices she made and would never want to see others make those same choices, she did clearly leave with us all, a legacy of music.
Perhaps others could learn a lesson in the way Whitney Houston died and avoid the pitfalls.
Perhaps others could learn a lesson from the way our soldiers lived.
But to scold or disparage those who, by various means of social media, posted of Whitney Houston by holding over them, soldiers who have not made it home? Really? Is that what we’re about now?
Those who, in their own way, have expressed their feeling regarding Houston are, in many cases, the same people who hold our military men and women near and dear.
As conservatives, I believe, we can do both without dismissing one or forgetting the other.
Apples and oranges?
It’s the difference between applause and a salute.