Thanks as always for keeping it real Senator Thompson.
Fred Thompson on National Review Online
If you tune into the news, you’re going to end up hearing or reading at least the headlines of stories you’d probably rather not know about. Somehow, I know that Paris Hilton may have violated her parole. I’m not sure how it happened, but I even know a little about Britney Spears’s hairdo, divorce, and trip to rehab. These bits of cultural trivia, I really wish I hadn’t digested.
What I’m not going to do now is scold editors for spending more time on Anna Nicole Smith and Lindsay Lohan than the details of our federal budget. To begin with, it would have about as much impact as it would for me to tell some pop starlet, who has more money than I ever will, to put on some decent clothes and behave herself.
I do think, though, that we should be worried when our children are shown over and over again that people who are rich and famous, and are presented as “idols,” get even more rich and famous due to behaviors that would be rightly deemed tragedies in most families. So, instead of telling our news sources what not to publish, maybe I could make a few suggestions for additional programming.
There are young women who are succeeding because of all the old virtues that we want our children to learn and emulate — women whose stories are just as compelling and entertaining as Britney Spears’s. One is Candace Parker, the 20-year-old forward for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers — who just won the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
Candace has complained in the past when journalists focused solely on her, the Lady Vols’ high scorer, instead of her entire team. I wouldn’t want to offend her, so I will point out that Shannon Bobbitt and the entire team also did what had to be done to win this year — drilling and working out hard in the off season when other teams were taking it easy. Still, Candace is the kind of role model I would want my daughters to look up to. She’s earned academic honors while putting in the time necessary to win Tennessee’s first championship in nine years, and will stay in school despite being eligible for the pro draft. My wife, by the way, is proud just to share her hometown of Naperville, Illinois.
Another role model critical to the Lady Vol’s accomplishment is head coach Pat Summitt, who has more victories to her credit than any other coach in NCAA basketball history — men included. Summit has just earned the first contract for a women’s basketball coach worth more than a million dollars a year.
Now, you may be asking yourself if I’m not just bragging about the Lady Vols because I’m a Tennessean, and I might not even argue with you if you said so. In fact, I’ve found myself humming “Rocky Top” ever since the team took the NCAA cup, but both of these women, and the other Lady Vol team members as well, have shown the discipline, sacrifice, and desire that anyone can and should aspire too. For the sake of our daughters, they ought to get at least a fraction of the coverage our media gives embarrassing, dysfunctional celebrities.
— Fred Thompson is an actor and former United States senator from Tennessee.