Hope needs a voice too

Yesterday, New Yorkers were teased (again) with hints of spring like weather, even daring some of us to show off newly polished toes. But on cue, we woke up to a re-occurring canvas of chill and gloom, yet it strangely offered a warm backdrop for Pope Benedict’s touching visit to Ground Zero. No doubt the clouds will strategically part later today to let the sun glow on the Pope when he addresses more than 57,000 at Yankee Stadium for the “Concert of Hope.” It’s that kind of day.

The papal visit was indeed uplifting and frankly, a long overdue must. Americans needed to connect with the face behind the Catholic brand, and they did as they watched Pope Benedict XVI address some of the major issues that currently surround this faith –– whether speaking directly of its sex abuse scandal, visiting victims that had been abused, to pleading for world peace at the United Nations reminding all of us to be advocates for a better tomorrow. He came with a mission, and I safely say he succeeded as I’m electrified by the enthusiastic roars that sweep the soon-to-be demolished Yankee Stadium. For the most part, the media has been tremendously kind to Pope Benedict too (well outside of Bill Maher likening the Pope to a leader of a cult. But Bill is insane. Though provoking, but insane). What about Lou Dobbs chastising the Pope for his less than praiseful statements about the United States? (I.E., “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?”)

(I paraphrase here.) Dobbs said it was “bad manners” for the Pope to make such comments, and suggested Benedict put a sock in it and take care of his own business first. Testy, testy Lou, and true that the Pope has his own set of challenges back at the ranch. But let it not be lost on us that this new era of citizen journalism –– our focus on social media, and all the technological advances that make it highly accessible –– doesn’t create some alarming trends, like watching inappropriate content, blurring lines between right and wrong, to feeding on each other for pure entertainment. (Hell, it was just last week that a group of “Mean Girls” filmed themselves beating up one of their own. It didn’t make Youtube, but it was ALL over the news.)

And oddly, speaking to this point further was Tim Robbins keynote address at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas earlier this week. Tim used his pulpit to challenge broadcasters to take the high road and –– stop igniting the “pornographic obsession with celebrity culture,” stop hiding “behind that old adage: I’m just a businessman. I provide what the audience wants,” and to remember, “we are better than that.”

Hope, change, and faith all need voices. And keep in mind, that we are being called to the task too. After all, the Catholic Church and the entertainment industry aren’t the only houses that need a cleaning. And lord knows, a girl can be heard…

Btw/ The sun did come out.
But where the heck is spring in NYC?
My toes are cold!!

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