BOSTON (CBS) – “No good deed goes unpunished” is one of my favorite sayings, not only because it’s true, but because it captures the essence of the regrettable human impulse to turn the most benign act of graciousness into a source of angry controversy.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Just ask New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the target of bitter backlash against his decision to lower the flags at public buildings in his state to half-mast in honor of Newark native Whitney Houston, who will be laid to rest there Saturday.
Christie’s decision drew instant outrage from some military veterans and survivors, who claimed the same honor given to their loved ones was now cheapened.
“Shame on you for ordering our flag to be flown at half-mast for a singer who OD’d,” read one typical comment quoted in a New Jersey newspaper.
“Our flag is to be used to honor true American heroes, the ones you just disrespected.”
That newspaper went back and looked up the history of flag-lowering orders, and found that it’s been done for a range of prominent New Jersey figures, including Bruce Springsteen’s sax player and the state’s most successful high school baseball coach.
Without controversy, it seems.
But that aside, I found Gov. Christie’s response to the criticism compelling:
“Whitney Houston was not a role model… in every aspect of her life,” he said, but “she is a cultural icon in the history of this state. I’m disturbed by people who believe…because of her history of substance abuse, somehow she’s forfeited the good things she did in her life.”
Excellent point by Christie.
Is every soldier who dies for their country a saint in their personal lives?
For that matter, is there anyone without sin walking among us at all?
Of course, the sacrifice of our war dead and wounded means more than a great singer’s version of the anthem.
That’s why we build permanent monuments to them.
But the vilification of Christie proves it — no good deed goes unpunished, no matter how well meaning.
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