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Whitney Houston is not Deserving of Half-Staff
The past week, the news has been littered with talk of Whitney Houston’s death. From the actual news of her dying to the rumors of why she died, she has definitely been the talk of the week. With her funeral, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, has sparked some controversy. He has ordered that the flag be flown at half-staff in memorial of Houston. While this is entirely within his powers as the governor, many people are disagreeing with his decision to do so.
While Whitney may have sung two of the most memorable renditions of the national anthem at the Super Bowls in 1991 and 2001, that does not make her deserving of the honor, which the flag holds. She may have been a public figure with one of the biggest, most beautiful voices of any female singer, but she was still just an entertainer. And at that, she is an entertainer with a tattered history. She isn’t the first entertainer with a questionable life to have the flag flown at half mass for. Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley both had histories of drug use and other blemishes and had the flag lowered for them. They were clearly national icons, but they were simply entertainers.
However, people are not just against flying the flag because of Houston’s drug history. The issue is that entertainers and other such celebrities are not deserving of the honor. The argument is that the lowering of the flag should be reserved for people who have served the nation, such as soldiers, political figures, and other public servants.
When it is put in perspective, lowering the flag for an entertainer and not for a soldier who dies in war is ludicrous. There is really no comparison. There are young men and women dying every day in the Middle East because they are defending what the United States stands for. How often is there a story about the flag being lowered for one of them? Not often enough, but somehow it is okay to lower it for a drug abusing celebrity who has done nothing to better the nation. It is an utter disgrace.
While big government and being overly controlling is not good, sometimes necessity calls for a new law to be put in place. People are starting to question why there are not specific guidelines for when the American Flag can be flown at half-staff. It is an honor that should be reserved for soldiers and public servants who deserve it. By doing it more often, it loses some of its distinction. By having set laws, it would keep the flag from being lowered whenever a governor makes the order. Of course, the states could reserve the power to fly their own state flag at half-staff whenever they wanted, but the American Flag would have limitations and only be done nationally.
Like everything else, there would be some exceptions. An entertainer like Bob Hope might be deserving because of how much time he spent visiting his troops supporting them. Events such as September 11th or the Columbine shooting could also merit lowering the flag. The important thing is to keep the flag from being flown at half mass for just anyone; there need to be some regulations. Think about Francis Scott Key as he looked at that flag and wrote the lyrics for the “Star Spangled Banner”. Think about how much meaning that flag held to inspire such a beautiful song. It is disrespectful to lower the flag for just anyone.