Letter from the Editor 

So I'm watching Larry King (don't ask) interview Miss USA, Tara Conner. Conner, in true reality-show fashion, is confessing that she used cocaine and marijuana and generally misbehaved after her ascension to the Miss USA crown. And she, like so many others who've been caught misbehaving in recent months, used the "get out of trouble free" card and went to rehab.

As I was watching (shallow fellow that I am), I kept thinking, Why is this person Miss USA? I see prettier, smarter women than Tara Conner every day. The reason, of course, is that Conner entered the contest and beat out a few dozen other women who thought being Miss USA was a good idea. The women I know wouldn't think of doing such a thing.

It's similar to what happens in government. I know lots of smart, honest, charismatic people who would make great mayors, city councilmembers, senators, even presidents. But they don't "enter the contest," so we're stuck with those who do, and, by and large, they tend to be mediocre. Or, even if they are outstanding folks going in, they become corrupted by the system and lose the common touch -- and, often, common sense.

It's how we get a George W. Bush. He's inarticulate, inflexible, and apparently listens only to the sycophants and sociopaths he's surrounded himself with, but he entered the contest, so for better and mostly worse, he's our president. Likewise, with our senators, who despite receiving a clear message from the electorate, refuse (with few exceptions) to deliver that message to the president.

We desperately need leaders, here and in Washington, to speak for us. We need a mayor who will call the Toyota company and personally invite them to tour Memphis rather than offering "no comment" about the proposed auto plant in Marion, Arkansas. We need senators to show the kind of courage being displayed by our soldiers in Iraq. We need leaders who will stand up for what's right. Otherwise, the whole country will be in rehab.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Sticky Fingers

    • Making Art Work

    • Taxing Times

Blogs

Tiger Blue

#18 Tigers 66, SMU 45

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Indie Memphis' Greatest Hits 5: Lights, Movement, And The Zoo

News Blog

Q & A With MCA President Laura Hine

Politics Beat Blog

Cohen, 5 House Colleagues Launch Impeachment Effort Against Trump

Music Blog

Band Geeks: A Live Tribute to The Last Waltz

Politics Beat Blog

Democrat Dean, On Nashville-Memphis Back-and-Forth: "I Love I-40!"

Beyond the Arc

The Hustle Report: Week 2

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Blowing in the Wind ...

    • Sep 14, 2017
  • On the Road

    "I can't believe it's not Buddha." — frustrated monk "I'm trying to be Zen about it." I hear this phrase, now and then. It's often used as a way of saying, "I'm trying to control my emotions." But "trying to be Zen" is an oxymoron. There's no trying to be Zen. You're here now. You're already enlightened. The trick is realizing it. Which is hard.
    • Apr 7, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation