Saturday, March 24

Yet Another Media Injustice...


Let me emphatically repeat the statement so that there can be no ambiguity: "THIS YOUNG MAN NEED NOT HAVE DIED."

Take note that I didn't say, "This young BLACK man, or African-American young man, or "boy." I said, deliberately, "young man."

Unless the readers of this opinion have been sequestered under a pile of rocks for the past week, the national media has elevated the story of the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin into round-the-clock, opinionated coverage. Thus the nation's conscience has become inflamed by this senseless tragedy, even though a full accounting of the "facts" of the incident have yet to be fully vetted. Unless one's blood boils with the bile of vigilantism, there are truisms in this case, as it is true of all disputable incidences, that must be analyzed fully in order to arrive at irrevocable evidence to support or refute the contention of the individual who discharged his personal weapon, as he is allegedly proclaiming, in self-defence.

What is at the crux of the widespread outrage that has quickly evolved into racial disharmony is the fact that the counterpart to this tragedy, a Mr. George Zimmerman, was not immediately arrested at the time of the incident by the Sanford, Florida Police Department. This cited failure to act expeditiously by the local authorities is being perceived principally by the nation's black community as a deliberate attempt to thwart the principle of equal justice under the law because the victim is "black" and the perpetrator is "white." It is at this precise flash point where the very idea of "equal justice under the law" gets tossed unceremoniously under the bus.

Article after article in the print media and news story after news story in the televised news media makes the deliberate and totally unnecessary declaration that Mr. Zimmerman is a "white" Hispanic. Such a distinction is not only pointedly inflammatory, but it is purposefully inaccurate. Why make such a distinction at all other than to knowingly further propagate an escalation in the simmering cauldron of racial discord. Why not just report the verified facts as know at any juncture in time and refrain from pointed headline editorializing so that the wheels of jurisprudence can be re-railed and an unvarnished verdict of guilt or innocence can be ultimately obtained?

Such employment of blatant prejudicial reporting can only serve to embolden the more radical social justice personalities who will invariably utilize incidences such as young Martin's death as a bully pulpit from which to garner yet further much prized camera face time and notoriety. Whereas we are a nation of laws instituted to protect and serve all citizens regardless of race, color or creed, such biased and sensationalized reporting invites an open door through which the self-important publicity pimps such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Lewis Farrakan interject themselves into a racially charged environment that initiates additional escalating threats of violence as exampled by the New Black Panthers placement of a $10,000 bounty "for the capture of Mr. Zimmerman." I would hope and pray that the good people of Sanford do not want, do not need and do not welcome this type outside lawless agitation in order to bring focus and justice to the fore in this matter.

What the media of all stripe should be tirelessly championing is an adherence to the laws of civil discourse, that societal calm should prevail as Florida Governor Scott, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the F.B.I. conduct a full and unbiased investigation into the death of Trayvon, and that no stone be left unturned in determining if the Police Department of Sanford is indeed operating under the unlawful assumption that crimes involving its black citizens warrant no credence in the equal employment of their departmental resources. Given these circumstances under which the wheels of justice will be permitted to slowly grind to an ultimate judgement, it seems highly improbable that Mr. Zimmerman will long avoid the stark reality that the death of Trayvon by his hand will escape punitive retribution.

The people of Sanford are rightfully demanding no less, as well should all law abiding citizens of this country. What we citizens of America do not need and should be demanding is the immediate curtailment of a Fifth Estate that has given itself free rein to manipulatively shape the news rather then merely reporting unbiased and noninflammatory fact. Being the guardians of freedom is not a carte blanche license to sell newspapers or bolster ratings if truth be the sacrificial lamb on the alter of corporate profit. The American people are not lemmings. Treat us thusly at your own peril.

Thursday, March 22

"And Now A Toast To The Married Couple."

As is customary, I was given the opportunity and honor to present a toast to our daughter Megan and our new son-in-law, Greg prior to the wedding reception dinner. The text of that toast is as follows:

"As I held my new born daughter for the first time as we walked from the delivery room to the hospital's nursery, her tiny little head was shaped like a half-sharpened pencil, and I thought to myself, "I'm not too sure how this is going to work out."

When she packed a peanut-butter sandwich in my old briefcase as precocious 3-year old and set off determinedly down the sidewalk away from her mother and me to make her mark on the world, I thought to myself, "I'm not sure how this is going to work out."

When she left our nest years later to head off to the University of South Florida - "Go Bulls!" - to begin another important chapter in her life, I thought to myself. "I'm not sure how this is going to work out."

When Megan brought home a young man from Pennsylvania, who couldn't return to his home to celebrate Easter with his family, and who posses the unlikely nickname of "Butters,'" I thought to myself, "I'm not too sure how this is going to work out."

Megan assured her mother and me that she could "never" marry this young man because her name would then be "Megan Morgan and how silly would that be?" Well, how silly indeed... As the lyric to the country song proclaims, "If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans."

At the conclusion of all these formative chapters in our daughter's life, a new one has begun this day, and her Mother and I can assure you that everything has worked out just fine.

I am a firm believer that a man and a woman's destiny is best realized through God's perfect will...that no person comes into the life of another person's heart without God's hand to guide and shape the encounter. And so it has been with Greg and Megan. Their separate journeys through live have come to this appointed, special day and their individual paths today have been co-joined to travel the remaining road before them as one. For this special blessing we are thankful and praise God for His wisdom in making it so.

Greg and Megan... From this new day forth may all of your hopes and dreams be renewed with each new sunrise. May your disappointments be few and your sorrows fewer, and may each be forgotten with each sunset. May all your future memories be as joyous as is this day. May God lighten your hearts so that they will be forever filled with ever increasing and over flowing respect, admiration and love for each other. And may God continue to pour out His riches blessings on you both with His love and peace throughout all the days that He has set aside for this special union that pleases Him immeasurably. May you strive daily to out-love each other so that at the conclusion of your lives here on earth you discover that this jointly held goal resulted in a resounding tie.

Therefore, our special children, go forth from this hour of celebration in God's grace and love, and strive with all your beings in His presence to be happy all the days of your lives together. Now, let us raise our glasses in celebration of Greg and Megan."

Wednesday, March 21

May I Present Mr. & Mrs..."

"Way back when," my desirous intention was to post my on-going, evolving reactions to all things related to the title of "Father-Of-The-Bride-To-Be." And like all good intentions not acted upon in a timely manner, mine ended up on that well traveled dusty road to Purgatory. The awesome and humbling honor to walk my baby girl down the aisle and relinquish her to the keeping of another on behalf of her Mother and me is now a fait accompli; she having been presented in Holy Matrimony to her betrothed on March 10th past. Although my official title has now been elevated to Father-Of-The-Bride, I believe it beneficial and, by all means, fun to reminisce about my personal observations and experiences as the countdown of months and weeks elapsed until the arrival of "the day."

First... Fathers-Of-The-Bride-To-Be have very little purpose, function or responsibilities to perform during the pre-marital, ever on-going planning and preparation phase. Remaining perpetually silent and out of the way I found to be the best course of behavior when the subject of wedding planning and preparation came to the fore, which, as I observed, was the major topic of conversation for the eighteen months leading up to "the day." I was also advised by several current Father's-Of-The-Bride of noted tenure that standing in the corner like a marbled statue of fatherly virtue, with pen and checkbook ready in hand, is an attribute that would be expected, admired and greatly appreciated. Although for me, that responsibility was principally and more than capably administered by my bride of 28 years, as she squeezed every last financial asset into submission to assure daughter Megan's wedding was a memorable one.

If there is a first, there has to be a second... There are two television shows that I am convinced air 24/7; "Say 'Yes' To The Dress" and "Bridezilla" (with some fanciful documentary about over-the-top Gypsy weddings tossed in for good measure). My Judi does not possess an addictive personality to any perceivable degree, but if she was in a room with a television, one of these shows was on and a critical critique of each episode was sure to follow. Some where in my murky ancestral past there must have been a feline flirtation because curiosity overcame my better sense of leaving well enough alone and I actually accompanied Judi in viewing a couple segments.

My assessment? It is a train wreck! As evidenced by the trials and tribulation that daughter Megan endured before finally selecting her beautiful dress (pictured above), I am fully aware that one does not just tut-tut down to Lula's Ready-To-Wear, Wedding Gown Sales Barn and pick off the rack the wedding dress of one's dreams. What some of the girls/women put themselves through on this television show in order to arrive at their final choice was at times sadly funny and too often excruciatingly painful. General Sherman brought less folks to the gala sacking of Atlanta than some of these brides-to-be brought with them for their fittings. Just a couple of these shows was all I could stomach before consigning myself once again to assume my more comfortable and obscure post in the corner.

Very few times during the planning and preparation was I strongly advised that my opinion and thus presence would be welcomed in the task of making final decisions on matters pertaining to the ceremony and the reception to follow. One such excursion usurped my usual cherished Sunday afternoon nap as daughter, son-in-law-to-be, Greg, and wife Judi sallied forth to finalize flowers, cakes and caterer. My valued contribution to the outing, as near as I can figure, was to serve as chauffeur and plumber. (The lady proprietor of the flower shop had a toilet that would not stop running. I fixed the problem. She was grateful.)

Much to my pleasant surprise, Megan and Greg had made the decision that the wedding was to be a less formal occasion. This meant, in layman's terms, "No Tuxedos For The Men." Hooray!! Fortunately I had previously purchased from that fashion shop of renown, J.C. Penny's, a nice blue, pin-striped suit, which I assumed could be whipped out of its really spiffy plastic suit cover bag thirty minutes before the fateful walk down the aisle and everyone would acknowledge that God was smiling down from on high and everything was perfectly in balance with the world. "Oh contrair, mon ami." Not according to my wife. "This will never do," she proclaimed. "The pants have cuffs. We can't have cuffs. And the coat sleeves are too long and don't show any shirt!" That is one of the basic and necessary reasons why men have they don't show up at some willy-nilly social function looking like they were the last clown to fall out of the Volkswagen bus at the circus. After a couple of alteration trail and errors, I must admit that thanks to the insistence of my persistent and wise wife, I did look quite studly in my tailored suit.

At long last the "Big Day" finally arrived. Daughter and Dad stood poised to make that much anticipated slow walk down the aisle. Megan has always demonstrated a deeply embedded sense of self-confidence and a keen awareness of what she wants and how she wants it. Megan and Greg's theme for the evening festivities was one of simplicity and country-fare; a gathering of dear friends and family in mutual celebration of two lives joined as one. "No drama" was her dictate and desire. But standing together hand-in-hand, awaiting our cue to process forward to her new future as a married lady, that outward exterior of total control belied the little girl inside squeezing my hand ever so tightly. "I'm so nervous," she whispered and I, in attempt to lighten the moment, suggested that "compared to a root channel, this wasn't a bad alternative." "Don't look at me," she whispered more emphatically, and then we stepped forward to her new chosen destiny. "Who gives this woman to be married?" "Her Mother and I." A kiss on her cheek and a hug to my new son-in-law, and my duty as the father of my beautiful little girl gave way to the young man now holding her hand in his.

The reception that followed was a joyous celebration indeed, filled with good food, laughter and fellowship. Two of my very dearest and cherished friends honored Megan, Greg, Judi and me with their participation. Greg Crane, who performed the wedding ceremonial rites, and David Wilbanks, who offered the prayer blessing. As tradition dictates, I was assigned the welcomed duty to offer a toast to the married couple. Megan had given me her suggested guidelines as to how the toast should be delivered; "Humorous, but not silly. Serious, but not too so." The contents of that toast (the text of which shall appear in a follow up post) invoked from the attentive audience the much hoped for laughter, sighs and not a few empathic tears, some of which were my own. And then after the dancing was done...the evening drew to a close. All in all a most wonderful celebratory experience for all.

I have no doubt that I am glossing over many other events that transpired between the announcement of the wedding date and the actual event. But it is my intention here to highlight and preserve for prosperity a select few of the occurrences and events that touched my limited role as the Father-of-the-Bride. Overall, for me, it was a hoot.

And now, may I present, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Morgan. Have a great life together, you too. Mom and I are so very proud and happy for you both.