By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Bravo to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for nixing a House vote on a resolution honoring the late singer and performer Michael Jackson. It is, I am sure, a move for which she will take flak from the Congressional Black Caucus. Caucus Chair Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, had no comment on Pelosi's decision, which was made to soften divisions in the House, not harden political differences. From the Los Angeles Times :
Senior lawmakers had feared the resolution would set off an ugly debate that could hurt Congress' image and upset the Jackson family.
They were probably right, given that Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) stormed off the House floor during a moment of silence for Jackson two weeks ago, later telling radio talk show host John Ziegler that he was "almost nauseated" by it.
I was a Michael Jackson fan. His dancing, particularly, was nonpareil. I grew up listening to Motown and the Jackson Five was among my favorite groups.
That said, Michael Jackson was an obviously troubled person and not someone who should be held up as a role model for young Americans. He did some very good things. Most notably, I visited an orphanage in Romania many years ago to produce a story on the unwanted children former President Nicolae Ceausescu's ban on abortion had left behind. The orphanage's playground was built with money Jackson donated and a small plaque was posted in his honor. I was touched by it, as there was no major publicity and hype associated with this donation, as there had been with his projects for children in the United States.