Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. That is sad. I grieve for his family losing him and his daughter. But I wonder if we have become too obsessed with celebrities in our culture. The news had his death as the lead story for days. It might even seem like the deaths of the other people on board do not matter. Can you name one of them?
And at about the same time, a plane was shot down by the Taliban killing two soldiers who gave their lives serving their country. Do you know their names? Has any sympathy gone out to their families?
Does it ever seem to you that someone somewhere switched the price tags on what should be most important. If you are a star athlete or a movie actor, your life matters. And if you are a soldier or a teacher or a student, your life matters. Is is possible that we pay too much attention to celebrities? Do we really need minute to minute coverage of the Royal family? Should we be obsessed with who is divorcing whom in Hollywood? Does this disproportionate attention to those who are famous skew our sense of the value of all human life?
And while I am on a mini-rant about celebrities, I want to comment on Jane Fonda. She is flying around the country getting arrested at rallies about global warming. I am deeply concerned about the way we seem to be hell-bent on destroying our planet. So he cause is just.
But I have a long memory. During the Vietnam war, Jane went to Hanoi and met with the enemy. She posed at a gun that was used to shoot down American planes. She visited prisoners of war who were paraded before her as if they were being treated well. She even turned a note from one of the soldiers over to their captors no doubt causing them great pain.
Again, it is not the cause that concerns me. Many of us had great misgivings about that war. But I believe that what she did was treason. She should have been arrested for real then. Now she uses jet fuel to fly around getting her picture in the paper saying that she is concerned about the use of fossil fuels.
Celebrities do have a change to do good. Troy Polamalu played football for the Steelers for 12 years. He visited Children’s Hospital and played with the kids every Friday. There were no cameras present. Jimmy Carter works building houses for Habitat for Humanity and stays with it long after the camera men have gone home. That is the way celebrities can make the world a better place.
I don’ grieve the death of Kobe Bryant any less than I grieve the death of the other passengers or the two soldiers killed. I don’t grieve for him anymore than the others either.