Friday, May 25, 2012
Show of Hands
Most people think of 'The Media' as a bunch of heartless bastards and quite often I'm inclined to agree. But an incident outside the John Edwards trial today reminded me of just how compassionate the Fourth Estate can be. It happened just after lunch. Inside the federal courthouse, jury members were busy trading digits, er, deliberating while a sweaty collection of photogs, scribblers and recordists simmered outside. Suddenly, families of varying ethnicity began showing up. At first, they seemed confused at the rows of cameras flanking the courthouse door but after some encouragement they made their way inside and upstairs. There, out of reach of our many lenses, a naturalization ceremony was taking place. You know - that final part of the immigration process where said newcomers raise their right hands and swear allegiance to this wonderful country of ours? It's a wonderful thing to witness and I've put several such ceremonies on the news. But cameras are banned from federal courthouses, so the many news crews perched outside could only continue their marathon of tall tales and dick jokes while inside, Democracy itself unfurled.
A little while later, our nation's newest citizens began dribbling out, many clutching flags and wearing grins. That's when the damnedest thing happened: members of the press, camped out in lawn chairs and awaiting John Edwards, began to clap. The first time it was spontaneous. By the third time a new American family bounded down those steps, it was tradition. I myself was busy on the periphery, but even my crusty, shriveled heart swelled with pride if not good cheer as a much maligned sector of American society welcomed our newest neighbors into citizenship. Will we dive through a dumpster to see if you're swindling old ladies? With pleasure. Will we crawl up a fresh widow's porch and ask for a better picture of the departed? In a skinny minute. Will we sleep in our cars if it means snagging a shot of a Senator's mistress with a baby in her hip? With pleasure and considerable flair. But we'll also champion the underdog, comfort the afflicted and celebrate all the good our country represents - when we're not shining a much-needed light on the bad and the ugly.
Just don't tell anyone, would ya? People will start to think we're Human.