Editorial: Controversy arises over Houston’s Half-staff honoring




by Tiffany Martinez

As many are probably aware, American pop icon Whitney Houston passed away earlier this month. The singer, pianist and one-time actress was found submerged in bathtub at a Beverly Hills hotel room around 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. Twitter broke the news of the death almost 30 minutes before the reports were released by mainstream media. Cameras captured fans across America in a sort of hysteria as they each mourned the death of the 48-year-old star in their own unique way.

All of this was much anticipated — the social media power house, twitter, bringing news of her death to the world before any other media outlet — fans across the United States feeling as though another celebrity death is “one more sign” that we are closer to the end of our days. Even the way in which the body of Houston was found, as she had admitted on several occasions to having drug problems and suffering from depression, was likely in the event of her death. So what was it, you may ask, that turned heads in this heartbreaking event? In the days following Houston’s death, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, ordered state flags to be flown at half staff in memory of the celebrity’s death.

The severity of this offense, and yes I will dare to call it an offense, is beyond words. The honor of having an American flag lowered to half mast should be reserved for men and women of the armed forces — men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that the people of our nation are so very privileged to have.

Though the results of Houston’s autopsy have not yet been revealed, she is suspected to have died from an overdose. An excessive amount of prescription pills, alcohol, and pain killers were reportedly found in the hotel room at the discovery of her body.

I make no argument to the sensational contributions Houston has made to American music, and I make no argument that she was without a doubt one of the most talented vocalists of our generation.

However, an individual that led a life of drugs, gave an example to young women everywhere that it is perfectly fine to stay in an abusive relationship, and refused rehab treatment from her own mother, deserves no such honor as the lowering of an American flag upon her death. It almost makes the significance of such a sign of respect lose its true meaning. It is an insult to the brave souls who put on a uniform everyday with the intention of defending this country with their lives, if necessary, to put be on the same level of an addict. The execution flying a flag at half staff should be done for acts of heroism, and acts of heroism alone.

Research revealed to me that Houston is not the first of entertainers, or non-military natives, that have been honored with this tribute — other musical entertainers, coaches, and prominent celebrities have also received this gift of mourning across different states. However, this issue was not brought into this great of a lime light until the recent death of Houston. I cannot be more pleased that such light was shed upon it. It seems that so often in our society, an excessive amount of attention is given to undeserving individuals. Idolization of the rich, pretty, and careless has come to rule our culture. An extreme shift of priorities, and perhaps a reflection as a people of what we deem important, needs to be implemented — and implemented quickly.

The death of a loved one is a tragedy no matter what the cause or stipulations. Again, an argument of the extent of this woman’s talent or the seriousness of her loss is not trying to be made. The idea of our nation’s flag flying at half staff in her oh-so-loving memory however, is absolutely ridiculous. The idea of an elected official that we are supposed to trust to make positive and sound decisions making that call is even more ridiculous. Houston did not lose a limb in the line of duty. She did not find a cure for cancer. She was not a leader of this nation. She was a singer, a singer that need not be confused with the real fallen heroes of this country.

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