Here come the culture wars

The economy seems to be picking up, and so the plan to attack Barack Obama with “double-digit unemployment” seems to have been put on the shelf. So how to challenge an incumbent president who killed bin Laden and saved Detroit? By revving up the culture wars, of course! The birth control dust-up with the Catholic bishops was an opening salvo, and now the recently-departed Whitney Houston is being brought into it, as well.

The decision by Governor Chris Christie to lower flags to half-staff  in her honor is completely his call to make. And unless you plan to move to New Jersey sometime soon, there’s nothing that people outside the state can–or should–do about it.

The people who are getting worked up about this–at the media’s suggestion–would likely have no problem if Lee Greenwood were to be afforded a similar honor at some point. But no, she was a drug user, and so we can’t honor her. But that reaction misses the point. Drugs may have played a role in the creation of many artistic works. And writers such as Hemingway and Poe have famously suffered from alcohol abuse, and no one thinks twice about honoring them or their artistic works.

Go back with me to 1991 for a moment, when the invasion of Kuwait had just taken place. The sound of Whitney Houston’s voice, and the image of the Super Bowl flyover, was a huge measure of reassurance at an uncertain time. If you missed that video the first time, or you’ve consumed a steady diet of extremist blowhards in the meantime, it’s presented up above for your consideration.

It’s hard to do this sometimes, but separating the art from the artist who created it is a vitally important thing to do. Whitney Houston had a successful singing career, and touched millions of people by the sound of her voice. That’s what you hear when you turn on the radio, and that’s what comes through in the video above.

To take such an honor away from her, because she made personal choices that may not have been the best ones to make, seems to be putting up a glass house around us as a society. And do we really want to do that, just so some politicians and media outlets can divide us for their nefarious reasons? I hope we’re better than that.

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