Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Irreverence and Hope

Yesterday, I made a offhand reference to JonBenet Ramsey and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  In googling the correct spelling of JonBenet's name, I happened upon a YouTube video of her.  Naturally, my curious self couldn't help but click on the link.  Right in the description of the video, there was a warning in capital letters saying that there were autopsy photos.  Unfazed, I watched the video.  I had totally forgotten that I can't even watch the news when it involves something bad happening to a child.  I watched in horror as I saw photos of this beautiful girl, dead in compromised positions.  She was only a year older than my own daughter.  About half way through, the 9-1-1 call from her mother was played.  The sound of her voice was just too much to bear and I had to turn off the video.  I felt terrible for using JonBenet's name in an insulting manner.  I don't agree with her parents choice to put her in beauty contests.  The sexualization of young girls is completely abhorrent to me.  But just because I don't agree doesn't mean that I can poke fun of her.  What happened to JonBenet is the absolute worst fear of any parent.  It's what we desperately try to protect our children from at all costs.  I am terribly sorry for mentioning her in this way.  I won't put a link to the video here as no parent should see it.  Trust me.
I had another experience with a video that has haunted me, which I wrote about four years ago.  I had just finished reading A Mighty Heart, by Mariane Pearl, the widow of journalist Daniel Pearl who was beheaded in Pakistan.  Mariane made the smart choice of not watching the video of her husband being murdered.  I did not.  When I watched the killers, I couldn't believe that their sense of humanity was completely gone.  I think one guy had to leave the room and the other guy felt he just had to get the deed done because they said they were going to do it.  But it only proves that evil really does exist.  I'm not sure whether I'm better or worse for seeing these videos.  It's no good putting your head in the sand and not facing the fact that horrible, evil things happen in this world.  You need to face it to combat it.

I won't end this post on such downer topics, but instead focus on the positive with the new Administration.  I have high hopes for President Obama.  He has a huge mess to clean up and it will take time.  But I have no doubt that he will inspire this country to clean up its act at home and in the world.  His letter to his daughters in Parade Magazine was truly inspiring.  From photographer Callie Shell's viewpoint, he obviously puts his family first.  And thanks to Kristen McLane, I found that you can Obamicon.Me!

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