America has a very weird way of lifting up the most absurd celebrities. Justin Bieber was just busted for street racing while drunk and on drugs. Bieber is also facing felony vandalism charges for an earlier episode where he vandalized a neighbor’s house.
Dennis Rodman just got back from North Korea where he practically gave a lap dance to his “best buddy” Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un is the most deranged and oppressive tyrant on the planet. Rodman refused to do anything to encourage North Korea to release of Kenneth Bae. Rodman said that he was in North Korea to play basketball, not to dabble in politics. In a CNN interview Rodman even seemed to accuse Bae of crimes against North Korea, and implied that North Korea was justified in holding him. But research in to Bae’s alleged crime would seem to suggest that Bae’s only crime was to carry a Bible.
We are fascinated by the rich, the famous, the outlandish, and the miscreants. We track their movement in and out of jail and rehab with intense interest. Prince Harry can party naked in Las Vegas or dress up in a Nazi SS uniform. His great-grandfather King George VI, who lead the British fight against the Nazis, must have spun in his grave.
What is wrong with these people and what is wrong with us for being their cult followers?
Let us select and follow celebrities who live lives worth living. Let us celebrate scientist like Neil deGrasse Tyson who are extending our scientific knowledge. Tyson is also teaching the masses to appreciate the wonders of the universe. Let us celebrate people like Jane Goodall for connecting us with nature and working to save endangered species, or Al Gore, who is and trying to save the planet from environmental destruction. Let us celebrate thoughtful commentators like Bill Moyers or Fareed Zakaria whose profound insights give us a window on the world and what is happening around us. Let us celebrate novelists like Jean Auel, who helped illumine our human prehistory through her Clan of the Cave Bear series. Through this series Auel helps us to understand what it is to be human.
Let us celebrate those who feed the hungry, make great medical advances, those who seek to create sustainable economic systems that can sustain us all into the future, those who work with disaster victims and refugees.
Let us celebrate those who work for peace, for the end of tyranny, violence and oppression. For those who will work for tolerance in a world full of racial, ethnic, economic and cultural divides. Let us celebrate those who work to end violence against women, and all the oppression and dehumanization of women because of their gender.
It does not matter what your career or walk of life. There are actors and rock stars that are great humanitarians, and others that are totally self-absorbed. Some spend their wealth and celebrity in serving the downtrodden, while the others spend their time in endless hedonism and debauchery without a care in the world.
It does not matter whether you are rich or poor. It is no great honor to be rich. Many people became rich through disreputable means. They do not deserve our honor. Others became rich by doing great things, inventing new industries, addressing great needs, and making our world a better place to live in many ways.
Donald Trump may be a billionaire but he is not worth a damn. The Donald has often been accused of racism. His political rants , such as his ongoing “birther” campaign against Obama long after the issue had been settled, make him the laughing-stock of all thinking people. He is clearly in the game for his own power, wealth and ego.
But others, such as Bill Gates have become world-class philanthropists, using not only their great wealth, but also their global vision, business savvy, and management skills to improve the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working to eradicate polio, fight the AIDS epidemic, and to create a viable economic system in West Africa, one of the poorest regions of the earth.
The measure of life is not in our acquisitions, whether our treasure be in the form of wealth, power, or fame. The measure of life is not in our acquisitions but in our contributions.