Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Perez Defiled: The Miss California Saga

Since the Miss U.S.A pageant aired on Sunday night, the controversy over Miss California's repsonse has garnered wide media attention. During the pageant Miss California responded to a question by celebrity judge and blogger Perez Hilton that many speculate might have caused her the title. Hilton asked Miss California for her opinion on Vermont's decision to legalize same sex marriage and if she believed other states should follow suit. In posing the question Hilton asked Miss California to argue for or against same sex union.

Miss California proceeded to answer the question by stating that while American values embraced freedom of choice, she believed that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. Her response was greeted by almost equal numbers of boos and applause. For some, it came as a shock that a pageant contestant from the state of California would express views that were intepreted by most same sex advocates as divisive. In the end, Miss California echoed the opinion of California voters who voted last winter in favor of Propostion 8, a California State ballot that changed the State Constitution to to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples thus denying same sex couples the right to legally be married.

First, I commend Miss California for speaking out boldly in defense of her beliefs regarding the issue. As I sat back and watched the pageant, I knew even before the results were announced that she would not win because of her remarks. No sooner had the competition ended, I went on Perez Hilton's eponymous blog and was not surprised when I saw he had already posted a response to Miss California, providing his own version of how he believed she should have answered his question.

Now, Miss California was asked by Perez to give an opinion on the issue. She then did and was now penalized because she did not give an answer most judges wanted to hear. In Perez' opinion she should have given a response that was politically correct so as not to come of as polarizing but rather unifying. Is this the America that our founding fathers fought for? One where personal opinion and beliefs are stifled in favor of popularity and being politically correct? Miss California wasn't asked to give an answer that would suit the judges she was asked to give an answer that was reflective of her beliefs which she did.

Sadly, Miss California is now being scorned because according to Perez Hilton and some celebrities who have spoken out on the issue, the duty of a potential Miss USA should be to represent the views of all Americans. Hence, given this broad definition, Miss California does not in the opinion of some fit the description as a unifier and as the face of this country because she is opposed to same sex marriage. Had she responded in favor of same sex marriage, she would have been more representative of the varied landscape of this nation.

Surely, the United States is a melting pot. There are hard working, honest citizens and there are bank robbers as well in this nation. The terrorist is neighbor to the pacifist, and the serial killer is neighbor to the priest. That President Barack Obama does not support the Ku Klux Klan does not make him polarizing or any less of a leader representative of the diversity this nation has come to be known for. We all do not have the same ideologies and no individual should be faulted for their beliefs. Nonetheless, irrespective of whether she won or lost, I believe the title of Miss USA belongs to the young lady who is able to capture and hold the attention of the media and so far there is no contest regarding whom the title really belongs to.

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