For a smart politician, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has issued a dumb order, which one can only assume was an ill-conceived attempt to court a specific segment of the voting public.
There is little doubt the late Whitney Houston had an unquestionable, superb talent, which she unfortunately destroyed through years of drug and alcohol abuse and then bragged about it: "Crack is whack!"
For this type of self-destruction we should honor her? I don't think so and I certainly take huge issue with Christie ordering New Jersey state flags at half-staff on the day of Houston's funeral.
Christie mistakenly believed it was an appropriate response to the death of a prominent New Jersey resident ... oh, really?
Christie has been mentioned as a future presidential candidate and even has been whispered as a brokered candidate if the GOP convention locks up over a nominee. But Christie's ill-conceived logic over flying the flag at half-staff shows a lack of judgment and certainly brings to question his decision-making ability to be president.
There simply is no way the death of a self-destructive former music diva should be marked in the same manner as the sacrifice of one of our servicemen or servicewomen giving their life on the battlefield for their country. Flags at half-staff are an appropriate remembrance and tribute to heroes, not for a woman who destroyed her own career and life.
Yes, decades ago Houston was a fantastic performer with a voice that rang ever so true, but that was before drugs and alcohol ruined her life and made her a tragic reminder of what she once had been.
Supposedly Houston was attempting to make a comeback when she died and for that she should be remembered, but not honored in the same manner as a national hero.
The national media and the music industry have praised the former star, making her death into a national/international tragedy far beyond what it was or should be. The national media began its nearly around-the-clock coverage of her life and death within hours of the initial announcement she had died.
The day after her death, the music industry elevated her to its near sainthood with its repeated praise of her during the industry's annual Grammy awards.
Yes, it's sad Whitney Houston died. Yes, it's sad she died at such a relatively young age. Yes, it's sad her once brilliant career and multi-octave-range voice were destroyed by drugs and alcohol, but the drugs, alcohol and other abuses were of her own doing ... and while I can feel sorry for the outcome, I can't set her on the pedestal some in the music industry and national media want her to be on.
And, honoring her with the American flag flying at half-staff on the day of her funeral to me is little more than a political ploy by a governor who wants to be president.
While I'm ranting, let's consider for a moment the flood of anonymous emails I and newsroom staffers are getting pertaining to the upcoming local elections and the alleged impropriety of some candidates.
If the sender doesn't have enough conviction of the allegation to place his/her name on the email, why should I give them more than a passing glance? Unfortunately, some of the allegations are so egregious they have to be checked, even when they come from what one would consider nothing more than a political, self-serving attacker ... and that really fries me because we are trapped into at least taking the anonymous email semi-seriously.
As I've written before, I expect the upcoming local primary and general election to be one of the nastiest in years, so get ready for a lot of anonymous mud, unsubstantiated half-truths and smear tactics by candidates, their supporters and their detractors.
Contact Jim Smith at email@example.com