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Chris Christie comes under fire for lowering flags to honor Whitney Houston

posted at 11:23 am on February 16, 2012 by

The official cause of singing icon Whitney Houston’s death last Saturday is yet to be determined, but the performer’s sendoff has already been marred by controversy. First came reports of acrimony between Houston’s family and former husband Bobby Brown, who was declared persona non grata and barred from attending his ex’s funeral in Newark. This was followed by word that Brown was cozying up to their daughter, who is the sole heir to the singer’s estimated $20 million estate.

The latest news story related to Houston’s passing transcends celebrity gossip and has touched a nerve among some people. It centers on a decision by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lower American flags throughout the state to half staff to honor the late singer. Houston, we’ve got a problem.

The Courier-Post, a newspaper based in Cherry Hill, quotes tweets on the topic from several Garden State residents. One is from a retired Marine, who writes, “Why is NJ lowering our American Flag to honor Whitney Houston? Are they all mad???” Another reads, “Our flag is to be used to honor true American heroes, the ones you just disrespected.”

Some of the comments are more pointed, referring to Houston as a “druggie” or as having “od’d,” both allusions to preliminary findings that revealed traces of sedatives in her system.

A statement by Christie, a former board member of Daytop Village, reveals that for him the decision to lower flags is also about drug addiction:

This is a disease that some people struggle with and conquer on a day-to-day basis, and some people succumb to it. And I don’t believe that that should diminish the other contributions they’ve made in their life.

I’m not saying that Whitney Houston is a role model. She’s not a role model in that respect, in every aspect of her life. But what she is is a cultural icon in the history of this state. I’m disturbed by people who believe … because of her history of substance abuse, that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life. I just reject that on a human level.

The article points out in closing that Christie has grouped Houston with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, and Bruce Springsteen in “the pantheon of great New Jersey musical talents,” adding as a footnote that when Sinatra died in 1998, flags were not lowered by then-Gov. Christie Whitman.

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Comments

This is even an issue when we have an anti-American marxist in the White House?

rbj on February 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM

who cares if christie lowered flags? houston is a well-known american icon and her death is a huge tragedy.

Sachiko on February 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I care. I’ll never forget that interview where she was high as a kite in her daughter’s presence. She was a mess, couldn’t act, and a prima donna. I also find her music dated. She’s not my icon.

Blake on February 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM

who cares if christie lowered flags? houston is a well-known american icon and her death is a huge tragedy.

Sachiko on February 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Flag etiquette. There are rules on who can order flags to half staff and for what reason. Christie broke them.

These things are important.

Rules for flying the flag at half staff

cozmo on February 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

adding as a footnote that when Sinatra died in 1998, flags were not lowered by then-Gov. Christie Whitman.

And she was right.

cozmo on February 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Why not, she was important to many NJ folk. Nothing to do with flag but I liked her music much. They say she had lost her voice,sad.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Why not, she was important to many NJ folk. Nothing to do with flag but I liked her music much. They say she had lost her voice,sad.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

We love our pets, should the flag be lowered for them?

NFF points out these “good-faith misunderstandings” not to criticize or embarrass anyone, but rather to head off a growing trivialization of this memorial salute, and to preserve the dignity and significance of flying the U.S. flag at half-staff.

cozmo on February 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Why not, she was important to many NJ folk. Nothing to do with flag but I liked her music much. They say she had lost her voice,sad.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Then lower the NJ state flag. But there is no reason to lower the US flag. I feel very sorry for people with addiction problems but I never got the feeling that she cared to clean up. Her daughter is already abusing drugs and alcohol. There are lots of ways to honor people but lowering flags just because someone sold a bunch of records is not one of them.

Blake on February 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Houston undoubtedly possessed some at one point in her career but let’s be clear- she didn’t write her own songs, she squandered a multi-million dollar fortune and was a long-term drug addict. Personally, I don’t get why such a person is being held in such high esteem by so many who evidently haven’t given her a second thought over the past decade or so.

If she deserves to have flags across the state lowered in her honour it begs the question of why the same wasn’t done for members of the military from NJ killed in action overseas, to name but one example. Surely they’re more deserving of being honoured by Gov Christie than a drug-addicted singer who threw away her career and fortune?

Jay Mac on February 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Personally, I don’t get why such a person is being held in such high esteem by so many who evidently haven’t given her a second thought over the past decade or so.

Jay Mac on February 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Oh, I think I can figure it out.

cozmo on February 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

who is really surprised that NJ is lowering their flags for a crack whore? have you ever driven through that state? i’m waiting for Christie to give Snookie the keys to Trenton

burserker on February 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM

I just reject that on a human level.

Oooh. Christie just had his “heartless” moment. Coulter’s brain to explode in 5.4.3..

AH_C on February 16, 2012 at 11:20 PM

He picked the wrong ” death ” and day as a rationale to lower the flags.He should have lowered it last Friday when the NJ legislature passed a same sex marriage law.

Fortunately, Christie vetoed it and suggested that the legislature appoint an ombudsman for the advocacy of civil union participants instead.

DevilsPrinciple on February 17, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Jay Mac on February 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Yeah, but,but,but… she was from Joisey !!!!

DevilsPrinciple on February 17, 2012 at 10:41 PM

who is really surprised that NJ is lowering their flags for a crack whore?burserker on February 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM ……and raising their poles for gay marriage…yeeeeee~ha…..which priorities, Guvnah ?

Fageddaboutit

DevilsPrinciple on February 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM