Legislation has been introduced to give actor/comedian Jerry Lewis a congressional gold medal. I have been a little bit put off by the trend in recent years of Congress giving gold medals to a whole host of people that I had considered ineligible in light of the history of the medal, but perhaps I am too narrow minded.
The medal series started as national recognitions by the Continental Congress for the military leaders whose victories during the Revolutionary War won Americans their liberty from England. George Washington received the first one.
Nowadays the medals seem to be awarded to just about everybody under the sun. But perhaps the wider award of the congressional medals is an accurate reflection of the times in which we live and future generations will look back and consider these awards to be perfectly appropriate.
Ronald Reagan was at first derided as an actor trying to be President. His rejoinder was he did not see how any occupant of the Oval Office could be anything but an actor to do the job properly.
Now we have Law & Order’s Fred Thompson as a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
If congressional gold medals used to go to generals and Presidents, now that actors – and anybody else for that matter – can be President, it is perhaps appropriate that Jerry Lewis be given the congressional gold medal.