Despite the huge ratings and millions in worldwide viewership that Michael Jackson's memorial garnered, it must be remembered that in his later years, the man was a very controversial figure.
Need any evidence? Check with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Pelosi is hardly Ms. Middle America. Though born in Baltimore, she has represented her San Francisco district for two decades. To call her and her district liberal would be putting it mildly. She represents a very international, urbane and ethnically diverse constituency. But she knows how certain things are perceived in what politicians call "fly-over country."
So, she's decided that there will be no Congressional resolution commemorating Jackson -- despite what Congressional Black Caucus member Sheila Jackson Lee's move to proclaim him an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian. in a House resolution. On Thursday, Pelosi said, forget about it.
Lawmakers are free to use House speeches "to express their sympathy or their praise any time that they wish," said Pelosi. "I don't think it's necessary for us to have a resolution."
"A resolution, I think, would open up to contrary views to — that are not necessary at this time to be expressed in association with a resolution whose purpose is quite different."
House commemorative resolutions are generally for unvarnished uncontroversial figures when they pass on. People like Bob Hope.
Yes, Jackson was acquitted on one set of child molestation charges; but the fact that another accuser was paid off -- amid numerous reports of sleepovers with young children that created too much doubt in the minds of many. When the Congress is already divided over huge issues like health care, climate change, taxes, spending, etc., a knock-down drag-out fight over Michael Jackson is not something Pelosi is going to shove onto her membership.
The world may have -- mostly -- loved Michael Jackson. But just as in many other circumstances, Congress is not the world.