Medal of Freedom ceremony: Scalia's sex life and Elvis is a racist

I love a nice ceremony. What could be better than one that honors the best of us? Friday afternoon President Trump bestowed the Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian award to six men and one woman. He did so in his own sometimes irreverent way. I expected nothing less.

The recipients included Senator Orrin Hatch, Miriam Adelson, Justice Alan Page, and Roger Staubach. Posthumous honors were given to Justice Antonin Scalia, Elvis, and Babe Ruth. The selection of Dr. Adelson drew jeers from liberal corners due to the fact that she and her husband, Sheldon, are big-time Republican donors.

The criticism of the award to Miriam Adelson, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is petty and mean-spirited if you ask me. To ignore her life’s work and only note her political donations is just wrong. She is a medical doctor and researcher who has devoted her career to fighting drug addiction. She has opened drug abuse treatment and research centers in Tel Aviv and Las Vegas.

A pop music critic at the Washington Post had a problem with the award given to Elvis. This is 2018 and Donald Trump is a Republican president so everything proves Trump’s a racist or something. The WaPo jackwagon claims Elvis was a racist human being and Trump is sending a message. Really?

Yes, Presley is among the most pivotal and controversial musicians of the previous century, so yes, this is another needling MAGA maneuver — a little nod to the good old days, back when black visionaries could invent rock-and-roll, but only a white man could become the king.

Yes, this overture looks ugly to anyone who feels antagonism and regression radiating from Trump’s promise to “make America great again.” And yes, it all feels especially absurd to members of the hip-hop generation — its eldest citizens now past middle-age — who learned how to feel about the legacy of Presley the moment they first heard Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” blasting a hole through our national mood in the summer of 1989. Yeah, you know the Chuck D line I’m talking about: “Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant s— to me.” (Yes, Chuck D deserves his own Medal of Freedom, but nearly three decades after “Fight the Power,” America is still afraid of a black planet, so he’ll probably receive his award posthumously, too.)

I don’t know. Sounds like the WaPo critic is the one with the problem, not Elvis. I’ve lived in the deep South for most of my life and I have to say that the whole Elvis-was-a-racist is a new one on me. He was known for his humility and generosity. My father had a couple of Elvis stories of his own and only said good things about the man. I admit I’m not a big hip-hop fan so I don’t have a lot of urban myth knowledge.

Justice Scalia’s widow Maureen accepted his award. As President Trump read the names of all nine of the Scalia children, he cracked a joke.

“You were very busy. Wow. I always knew I liked him” as some in the crowd chuckled.

He seemed genuinely surprised as he read off all the names, so I don’t think he realized Scalia had such a large family. It was all taken in good humor, except for the scolds on Twitter. The Trump bashers immediately doled out their hot takes. His family was fine with the joke.

It was nice to see most of the Supreme Court Justices present. Justice Thomas and Justice Sotomayor were not there but Justice Ginsberg was able to join the others. She’s a tough old bird, I’ll give her that. I have to say that with Senator Lindsay Graham as the new Senate Judicial Committee chairman, the next Supreme Court nomination from President Trump will be lit.