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Enter Stage Right hands out its awards...

The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted August 27, 2001

Giving Gary Condit the Earth is Flat Award is like predicting a politician will lie. Both are are a given.

Gary Condit and Connie ChungFirst things first. If a sitting U.S. congressman has an affair with an intern, it is not the public's business. It is a matter for that congressman, his wife and the other woman to hash out. It may make him a hypocite if he decides to argue issues related to the family and morality, but it is a private matter.

Until, of course, that private matter may be related to a police investigation into the disappearance of that other woman. Then the rules change and the police have a right to ask what they feel they may need to know to determine what happened to that woman.

Those, however, are not the reasons why Condit has received our less than prestigious award. Condit deserves it for declaring he wanted to clear the air during a nationally televised interview but instead engaged in Clinton-esque dodging.

What was the nature of the relationship between Condit and Chandra Levy? We don't know and perhaps we didn't need to know but his reputation has suffered even further for dodging the question. Has he withheld information that may have helped police in their search for Levy? We don't know, though we do know that he may have not been entirely forthcoming during the four interviews he gave Washington, D.C. police, a fact that the police have publicly stated. Was Gary Condit involved in her disappearance? More than likely not, but his subsequent behavior and explanations don't inspire confience in him.

Condit's attorney, Abbe Lowell, was right when he told Reuters his client had no obligation to talk publicly about the details of the relationship.

"You guys in the media think that prime time is a church and Connie Chung is the priest, and you weren't going to be satisfied until on prime time the congressman did his confessional," he said.

Perhaps, but the parishioners were 23 million Americans who did watch to hear the truth. On that count, even his former supporters agreed he failed.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted August 6, 2001

We at ESR usually reserve this space for awarding merit in the politicians or activists of the world but this time around the award is deserved for someone outside of that realm. This week Korey Stringer receives the Vinegar in Freedom Award.

Korey StringerUnless you aren't a fan of professional football or you missed the news last week, Stringer was an All-Pro lineman with the Minnesota Vikings. Stringer died on August 1 of heat stroke, one day after collapsing at the team's training camp.

Stringer isn't receiving our award because of his past play, rather he is receiving it for the type of man he was. Stringer just didn't play football once a week and then retire to his mansion, he also was a booster of literacy and education in classrooms and libraries across Minnesota. A busy man with a busy life, the 27-year old was a person who showed up in the stands of high school football games, talked about math with elementary students and remembered the first name of a 12-year-old child a year after they met.

In one classroom where he volunteered his time for five consecutive years, Stringer sat amongst the fifth graders and asked what they were reading. The class had a display of a Viking's head with a braid that a student would attach a piece of paper to for each book read. Stringer challenged the kids to extend the braid to the principal's office down the hall, which they eagerly did.

This spring, Stringer came back and celebrated the feat with pizza.

Stringer used to show up in the stands during football games for St. Paul Central High School. Last year, he volunteered with the team three times a week, sometimes taking the 16-, 17- and 18-year-old linemen aside on the field. It wasn't just footwork. Stringer also would counsel players on grades and college.

Most people who decry athletes as spoiled brats don't volunteer their time half as much as Korey Stringer did during his short life. Remember what kind of man Korey Stringer was before you make a blanket statement about athletes. He just didn't do more than most athletes, he did more than most people. We lost a great football player last week, but we also lost a good man. They're in shorter supply then great football players.

Gifts in memory of Stringer can be given to the Minnesota Viking Children's Fund on behalf of Korey's Crew, c/o US Bank, SDS 12-2147, PO Box 86, Minneapolis, MN 55486-2147.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

 





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