The wrong man chose to retire. We're talking about the much-ballyhooed announcement by basketball-great Michael Jordan that he was officially leaving the NBA to explore family life. What's that? Yes, in these days when kids sing "I wanna be like Mike" his "Airness" has expressed a desire to be more like us by experiencing the everyday mundane things like carpooling. Don't know about you, but that endears us to the man more than the inhuman gravity-defying shots this North Carolina native had become famous for. Throughout his illustrious career he was bigger than life, an icon that kids looked up to and advertisers exploited. It is no coincidence that his announcement came two days before the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. who is remembered for his "dream" of all races living in harmony. A dream we all share. Michael Jordan eclipsed King's dream for he transcended the borders of race, prompting children all over the globe to want to emulate number twenty-three. Adults the world over would fork over hard-earned dollars to don Chicago Bulls paraphanelia and Jordan's special Nike shoes. Few people looked at Michael's race but at his character and ability. The former is more important than the latter but it might not have been noticed had it not been for his sheer athletic ability and unbelievable prowess and accomplishments on the hardwood. You see, character does count!
It's no coincidence that Jordan's retirement came on the eve of the first impeachment trial in over a century. Sadly the glory of Jordan's swan song is crowded out by the sordid details of the Bill Clinton follies, sharing the headlines with such rancid characters as porn publisher Larry Flynnt's muckraking. It seems misery loves company. It's also sad that all the sins of so many will be splashed across our screens and newspapers during the next few weeks, taking away from the space that should be allotted to more lofty news events such as Pope John Paul II's papal visit to Mexico City to officially close the Bishops' Synod of the Americas and then his twenty-four whirlwind stop in the heartland of North America where he will come face to face with Clinton. Do you think there's a chance of the prodigal son returning? Dont' bet on it. If you recall, Bill Clinton has a knack for hogging the spotlight either by ploys he exacts himself directly or indirectly from ploys he has been involved with to exploit others. It was one year ago when the media was planning on covering in depth the Holy Father's historic, landmark visit to Cuba. Exactly at the same time the Sovereign Pontiff touched down on Cuban soil the scandalous and obscene "Monicagate" was exposed to the world. The media hounds, like teenagers at a strip club, forsook the Pope and focused almost entirely on the base, dirty secrets that were being bandied about inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. In some media circles the Holy Father's words were reduced to an afterthought. But the impression he left in Cuba was no afterthought as the fruits have manifested themselves a thousand-fold in just a year's time.
Can Bill Clinton say the same thing? No way. Despite all his smokescreens and attempts at cover-up, the trial is proceeding; a trial that never should have happened. Unike Michael Jordan who realized he had accomplished all he could and realized it was time to go out on top, Bill Clinton hasn't got a clue and, because of his stubborn pride, could go out at the bottom! Liberals claim whatever he did is his own personal business and the rest of us should stay out of it. Believe us, we'd like to stay out of it. But it wasn't "personal business" when illicit lust takes priority in the oval office - the office where the President of the United States conducts the business of the land - "for the people." The fault of why this has finally come down to a trial where the media will rehash all the garbage and filth once more ad nauseum lies with Clinton himself. If he truly cared about this country he could have done the noble thing and resigned. Yes, it would have been out of shame, but it would have been noble. Consider Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston. The affairs they had were not right and they realized it. They're not proud of it and now they are paying for their sins. But they were noble about it and did the right thing. Their repentence is illustrated in their actions. Clinton has to realize true reconciliation takes much more than just an "I'm sorry" and then continuing to be arrogant and wink about the whole thing, blaming others for the hell he has created for himself and the country he took an oath to protect and uphold its values. We all know what Jesus says about the man who causes scandal. Still, we have to feel sorry and pray for Clinton because he still hasn't got a clue.
It reminds us of another sad creature who didn't have a clue - noted atheist Madeleine O'Hara whose diary is being put up for auction. In these confidential and revealing pages, reporters relate, she wrote "Why won't somebody love me, anybody?" We have to feel sad reading that for if only she could have realized that God loves her, but she refused to acknowledge He exists and, because of that, chose to remain in her own self-imposed hell. Clinton is in the same boat and through his amoral, lawyer-speak smokescreens, abuse of his office, and spinmeisters manipulating polls, he is sucking the entire country into this whirlpool of muck and destruction.
"Oh, but the economy is so good. How can we get rid of this man" so many blind sheep bleat. As Clinton's predecessor coined, "Read my lips." Though "Slick Willy" has always taken credit for it, he had nothing to do with the economy. It was something set in place a decade before and the law of supply and demand reached its peak during his term. Now it's slipping and will slip fast just as the Blessed Mother has been predicting in her many messages to countless visionaries and messengers over the last two decades. There are already signs of cracks in the wall. When the damn breaks nothing will be able to plug the gaping holes and poverty will flood this country far greater than the great depression of the thirties. And it will be well deserved. What? How can we talk like that, you ask? That's not us talking but rather what God has been saying. Jesus said, "What you reap, so also you shall sow." Look around today as we stand on the brink of the third millennium and the harvest is sparse. Vocations are at an all-time low in the United States. Immorality is at an all-time high. Those espousing the Word of God and promoting the ideals set forth by the Son of God are being chastised as hypocrites and trouble makers, while those promoting the seven deadly sins are exalted as "crusaders" and "heroes." Satan is having a field day and we're just sitting there and letting him take over.
We would hope that Jordan's retirement will remind us of another Michael for all to aspire to be like. We're surely not talking about foul-mouthed convicted rapist Mike Tyson who doesn't deserve any mention whatsoever - yet we did - but rather a Michael for the ages: Saint Michael the Archangel, God's chosen commander to marshall the forces against the world, the flesh and the devil. Like Jordan, St. Michael is bigger than life. In fact, this most loyal of archangels is the safeguard of life for without the protection of God's army we would be swept away by lucifer's legions. Pope Leo XIII realized the vital role of God's general in this battle against evil by composing the beautiful, effective Prayer to St. Michael that was said faithfully at the end of every single Mass by all up until the end of Vatican II when, for reasons we still have not been able to determine anywhere, it was mysteriously dropped from the agenda. You tell us why! The only reason we can logically decipher is that ol' hornhead's disciples were able to infiltrate the ranks and effect the change cleverly without anyone of power in the Church realizing it until it was too late. Pope Paul VI realized this on his death bed when he said, "Vatican II had intended to open a window of fresh air, but a wind blew in and now satan is in the sanctuary." Truer words were never spoken. A century after Leo XIII circulated this prayer universally, it's time for all of us to resurrect it, flooding our pastors with petitions to reinstate it after Mass and encouraging all to pray and recite it as often as they can throughout the day. This editor has always felt a special affinity to St. Michael and privileged to be named after him. But we don't have to possess his name to possess the ideals he stands for. It is time for all of us to emulate the attributes of this great saint who dates back to the beginning. It is time for all of us to call upon this Prince of the Heavenly Militia to instill in all of us the kind of resolve and character God expects. While Michael Jordan possessed the kind of exemplary character rarely found in today's over-hyped, spoiled athletes, it pales in comparison to the character exhibited by the most loyal subject of the Heavenly Host. We can be assured that we're on the right track and fulfilling God's Will if we focus on the virtues of this great Archangel in striving to "be like Mike!"