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Whitney Houston, Chris Christie, and the Flag – Final Thoughts.

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Now that over 24 hours have elapsed since I first saw the news and posted about the Governor’s decision to lower the flags at half mast in honor of Whitney Houston this Saturday…a few things come to mind.

First, what if he decided not to lower the flags…do you think anyone would have complained?

I’m guessing, and this is only conjecture on my part, that there may have been some criticism had he chosen not to; but not as much as we’re seeing now.

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There still would have been those who would have criticized his lowering the flag for the “big man” and not for Whitney; but I don’t think it would have met the kind of “chorus of boos” he’s seeing now.

Second, what if he changes course and says, “…you know, I may have been wrong on that one…let’s not lower the flag!”

As much as I disagree with his original decision, I’ve always admired him for sticking to his guns and making unpopular decisions. He’s always said that the job comes with making unpopular decisions. He’s made them In the past, and to change course now would be “waffling”…which would lose him cred in my eyes…and I’m sure in the eyes of the many like minded individuals who admired his tough stance.

Third, do you think he made this move to appease anyone?

It depends on how you look at it.

From a political perspective, I don’t think he’s had much support in the urban African American community to begin with. Whitney was, after all, born in New Jersey’s largest city; grew up in Essex County, which has a sizeable African American population; and this may have been a symbolic gesture to honor someone who had ties to that community; despite her recent problems.

Now you might be thinking….”well, wasn’t Clarence Clemons African American?”

Yes, of course, but not with the background to the urban community that Whitney had.

Fourth, how do you honor some celebrities, and not others?

My original feeling was that no celebrity deserves the honor of having the flag lowered to half mast when they die.

Sure, there are notable exceptions, but I saw it as an “all or none at all” proposition.

Well, guess what! There’s certainly room for some grey area!

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I briefly mentioned the “what if” scenario if Jerry Lewis, who was a native of Newark, died.

Could we not honor his memory by lowering the flag? After all, he was the face of the Muscular Dystrophy Association for God-knows how many years…raising millions of dollars for the organization.

It would be unthinkable not to….or so I feel.

So, were I to give the Governor any words of advice (which would be laughable); I’d probably quote Rosie Perez as Gloria Clemente in “White Men Can’t Jump”

“…Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.”

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