Before we get one blessed moment further into the holiday season, let me get a few sacrilegious thoughts off my chest.
First: Can someone please tell Tim Tebow to keep his professions of faith the hell away from television microphones when he is being interviewed? Here’s chapter and verse on Tim Tebow: He is a previously untried quarterback for the Denver Broncos who — when he was thrust into the starting role five or six games ago — was dismissed by the sports journalists as being too slow and too poor a passer to be a winner in the revered NFL.
Since then he has guided the Broncos to seven wins in the last eight games, most of them dramatic, come-from-behind wins, with a few Hail Mary passes from Tebow playing a role. Those wins led to the interviews, the breathless testimony to the Lord, and the advent of a new word: Tebowing, the process of taking a knee and praying during an athletic contest.
Hey, Tebow: I said in this space a few weeks ago that I pray to God every day for the sun to rise the next morning, for the leaves to come back on the trees the next spring, and for the Yankees to win the next World Series. I forgive the Big Guy because two out of three ain’t bad and I figure He might not care who the hell wins a silly game. But Tebow has won six in a row. The Yankees have failed to win the series in 10 of the last 11 seasons. I’m tired of having Tebow, well, lord over me.
Second: Was anyone else struck by the rugged suede jacket Rick Perry was wearing when he filmed his “Strong” commercial aimed at Christian evangelicals in Iowa? Where had we seen that jacket before? I’ll be damned if it didn’t remind me of that ruggedly handsome, heart-throb character in the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” the one who roughs it in the wilderness with his hard-muscled buddy.
In the commercial Perry complains that we now allow gays to serve openly in the military but we don’t allow our kids to celebrate Christmas or pray in the classroom (only on the football field, apparently). Those devilish online bloggers have already put up side-by-side photos of Perry and the gay cowpoke, and also dredged up rumors about Perry’s sexuality.
God’s on Perry’s side. But maybe a gay man could help us out on another matter: Is Perry the hottest male candidate or not?
Third, finally, and getting close to serious: Does anyone else — pray tell — think that the prosecution should drop all charges against Dharun Ravi, the Plainsboro teenager accused of spying on his college roommate and contributing to the roommate’s subsequent suicide?
In his most recent court appearance Ravi turned down a plea bargain that would have spared him a prison sentence but required 600 hours of community service and counseling. The deal seemed especially good given that a conviction on one or both of the bias-intimidation charges against Ravi would mean an almost certain prison sentence.
But there is a complication. While Ravi is in this country legally, he is not yet an American citizen. A guilty plea could result in deportation.
No punishment of Ravi will ever undo the tragic death of Tyler Clementi. And if other teenagers and adults are not already deterred by the shattering of Ravi’s American dream, then even a conviction and prison term are not likely to make a difference.
But the continuation of the case against him, and the accompanying media glare, are certain to harm Clementi’s parents, especially his mother, who admitted she was devastated by her son’s announcement of his sexual orientation; Rutgers officials, who obviously failed to anticipate the possible consequences of two young people exposed to alternative lifestyles possibly for the first time; and the other young man who was in the dorm room with Clementi.
As I ponder this can of worms in the dark early hours of a deadline Tuesday morning, I wonder how many zealots will attack me for not wanting retribution for the harm caused to Tyler Clementi. I trundle up to Cox’s store to pick up the December 13 edition of the Trenton Times. My tired eyes are caught by the following letter to the editor from a woman in West Windsor named Kathy Bybee:
“Tyler Clementi’s death was tragic. We can’t understand what drove him to jump from a bridge, nor can we feel his parents’ sorrow. But do we as a society need to compound the sadness?
“Looking at the picture of Ravi . . . it hit me that another life is in the balance. I don’t know anyone involved in the case, but I have teenage sons and a sister who is gay. I wouldn’t punish the ones for acting like teenagers and I wouldn’t torment the other for her nature.
“Ravi’s curiosity about what went on in his own bedroom is normal. Too many adults seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be just half-grown and, worse, too many are willing to destroy another young man’s life to push their own agenda. We should mourn the loss of life, but the case against Dharun Ravi has gone much too far already.”
In my case, she is clearly preaching to the choir. I look up from the letter, turn toward the window, and see the first glimmer of morning light. I’ll be damned — one of my prayers has been answered. Let’s see if Tim Tebow does as well this Sunday against the Patriots.