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Pearls before pop culture
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The crowned Trump’s prize Miss USA is making the television circuit now publicly declaring her past abuses of cocaine to be free of her torturous secrets; a part of her rehabilitation process, I would assume.
Not only has she discredited this coveted title with her drunken debauchery in the New York City shenanigans videotaped for all to see, she recently announced and then renounced her intentions to a play “bunny” with a Playboy cover shoot. Now I ask you, are these qualities representative of a “lady,” as Miss USA has traditionally been a role model for our young ladies?
I am now hearing arguments in favor of the dismissal of the entire era of pageantry in response. An American tradition spoiled by the rampant declining moral values of our youth is cause for serious inquiry to reflect upon our rapidly shifting popular culture. I will have to reluctantly agree with Mr. O’Reilly of Fox News that some of our cultural traditions are indeed being assaulted with the permissiveness reinforced by our societal transitions of thought.
Because Miss USA has underwent rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse does not “untarnish” an already tarnished public image. I am supportive of her efforts to try to help herself regain her composure and find her way, but this “forgive and forget” philosophy has its repercussions. Disregarding personal responsibility and evading consequences for one’s actions, in my opinion, sends a lackadaisical message to our youth.
We are not living in “Disneyland” here and our youth should not be led to believe that they are sure to automatically receive the same accommodations afforded to Miss USA of late.
In reality, the fine Gentleman of North Carolina, (former) Sen. John Edwards is correct when he says, “America is two worlds:” one for those who are “special” and one for the rest of us.
I recently presented my 17-year-old daughter, Ashley, with her first strand of freshwater cultured pearls. I looked intently into her eyes and told her with great conviction:  “The choice is yours: lady or not?!” I further elaborated that when you wear these pearls you are saying to the rest of the world that you have chosen to be a respected young lady with wholesome values, and display expected standards of behavior held in high esteem throughout our historical roots. The choice of course is hers!
I know the next question will be, “Do I believe in second chances?” Absolutely.... No, not in every circumstance! This is one of them.
When will you learn if you are rewarded for undesirable behavior, especially when you have broken your word, given to the rest of society in honorable fashion and accepted at face value? Break your word and you automatically gain discredit. Disregard your contractual duties, and you are apt to be fired! Or worse, sued for every penny you are worth.
What message does a second chance send our young ladies in this case? Run around and act as you like and we will accept your antics with disregard? I think not. Forgiveness is a virtue to be cherished that I cannot deny; but Miss USA is not only a role model for our young ladies in America, in my opinion, she should be as classy as is our First Lady! Everyone would agree that the cultured Ms. Laura exemplifies the standard in “ladyship!”
I explained to my daughter that when a “lady” wears her pearls she is carrying on an American tradition in which respected women reflect traditional values and expected standards of behavior held in high esteem throughout our historical (obviously, I repeated myself; but, I felt it needed to be said again!!) roots. I reiterated to her that “the choice of course is yours.”
I recently received a lovely note thanking me at some length for her “cherished” pearls and she revealed even though it is not the most popular decision amongst her peers, she has indeed chosen to wear them every day.
I think Miss USA has forgotten to wear her pearls on occasion and could certainly benefit from a few “pearls of wisdom” from the elders of our society. After all, she is presenting herself as a representative in the Miss Universe pageant and to all under the “Red, White, and Blue.” Only a lady will do.

Bezanson may be contacted via email at
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