Orders flags flown at half-staff
For Whitney Houston
Pretty much every news outlet is reporting what I heard on television this morning ...
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he will order flags flown at half-staff at state government buildings Saturday in memory of Whitney Houston.
The governor says Houston was a "cultural icon" who belongs in the same category in New Jersey music history as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.
He says her accomplishments were "a great source of pride for the people of the state."
Her funeral will be held the same day in her birthplace of Newark.
This doesn't seem right
It's just not appropriate
I mean no disrespect to Whitney Houston. An incredibly talented singer, she died tragically young after years of battling the demons that often accompany fame. My disagreement with Governor Christie's decision isn't about politics, and it isn't about any of the singer's behavior that has been the subject of hate filled comments on the internet or the speculation about the circumstances surrounding her death.
The issue is whether flying a flag at half-staff to commemorate someone's death should be an honor reserved for government officials or public servants like police officers, firefighters or members of the military who die in the line of duty. I think it should.
While reading about Governor Christie's order, I learned that he had issued a similar order last year after the death of E Street Band saxophone player Clarence Clemons. Because I don't monitor when flags are flown at half-staff in New Jersey, I wasn't aware of the honor given to Clemons. But it wasn't appropriate then for Clarence and and it's not appropriate now for Whitney.
There are many ways the governor could recognize the career and accomplishments of entertainers like Houston and Clemons. Flying flags at half-staff is not one of them.