Look at Me

I received the following this week in an email.

What we have all wanted to say with the start of the NFL season.  Perhaps all team owners should be sent the following:  "So with all the kindness I can muster, I give this one piece of advice to the next pop star who is asked to sing the national anthem at a sporting event: save the vocal gymnastics and the physical gyrations for your concerts.  Just sing this song the way you were taught to sing it in kindergarten - straight up, no styling.  Sing it with the constant awareness that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines watching you from bases and outposts all over the world.  Don't make them cringe with your self-centered ego gratification.  Sing it as if you are standing before a row of 86-year-old WWII vets wearing their Purple Hearts, Silver Stars and flag pins on their cardigans and you want them to be proud of you for honoring them and the country they love - not because you want them to think you are a superstar musician.  They could see that from your costume, makeup and your entourage.  Sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' with the courtesy and humility that tells the audience that it is about America, not you.  Francis Scott Key does not need any help."  Semper Fi - From a Marine Corps Colonel in Afganistan.
This got me thinking about our society in general.  Why does every public figure go out of their way to draw attention to themselves?  Why do they say the oddest things to get that publicity?  How is that the American public continues to believe anything they say?

If you think back to any politician holding a press conference you know what I mean.  Forget the words.  Remember the scene.  There may have been children or some other group perceived to be exploited or weak (to draw an emotional response).  There was probably a large American Flag (or many flags) along with the required American flag pin (the politicians favorite way to show they support America while simultaneously trashing our way of life).  

I am sure you all remember the members of Congress who following the invasion of Iraq were quick to point out that they supported the troops but did not support the war.  In other words, we support you the American soldier risking your life at the behest of your Commander-in-Chief along with congressional funding to prosecute the war but we don't support what you are doing.  Huh?  How can you support the man or woman risking their lives and then tell them you don't support what they are risking their lives to do.  It doesn't matter if you think the war in Iraq was justified or not.  If you voted to fund it, you supported it.  If you didn't want to support it, don't vote to fund it. Simple.

Where do you draw the line on celebrity?  Does it matter that an actor or actress can transport you to another land through the shear force of the acting ability?  Does that also qualify them to understand the differences between Micro and Macro Economics?  When I read up on a topic I tend to go to the primary source and then only from authors who actually know what they are speaking about.  Just because an actor or actress belives in a cause in no way qualifies them to tell me how to spend my money.  It in no way qualifies them to explain to me why some political action is unjust and "unconstitutional".  When you have the read the Constitution we can talk, until them go back to acting.  I don't try to do plumbing, because I am not a plumber.  Stick to what you know and then we will all be happier. 

This Marine Colonel nailed it.  But lets not just stop at musicians.  When you are addressing the American public remember who you are speaking to and where this might be seen.  Don't disrespect those who have sacrificed their lives for your country.  Give them the courtesy of being truthful and honest.  Stand up for what you believe, but don't hide behind the American flag and tell them how much you care about them while simultaneously cutting funding for Veterans Affairs, denying them a living wage while voting yourself more money or even draping yourself in the flag (figuratively and literally).  The American flag and all that it symbolizes speaks volumes to millions of people in this country and throughout the world.  Not all of it great, but we strive to do the best we can every day.
Think for yourselves.  Be respectful of those who preceded you.  Remember that you be an agent of positive change or an agent of negative destruction.  Which one are you going to be today?