State

An angel, a king: RIP, both of you

This wasn't supposed to happen right now. The headlines that day were supposed to be about the much-awaited meeting at the White House between the president and congressional leaders to discuss immigration.

Finally, they sat down and began discussing ways of coming up with a new immigration reform bill that would address all sides of the issue. Finally, there was a chance that the system could be fixed and millions of undocumented immigrants could have the opportunity to legalize their status.

But once again, immigration was upstaged, this time by two tragic deaths.

Farrah Fawcett's passing was very sad. Watching the one-time beauty icon wither away and lose her battle against cancer was disheartening, but not surprising. She shared her struggle on her TV special, and showed us all what it's like to be a fighter.

"Who was Farrah Fawcett?" my daughters asked me. "One of Charlie's Angels," I told them. The woman who prompted us, at one time, to have long, wavy hair, the one whose smile and optimism should serve to inspire us.

The real shock came a few hours later. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that Michael Jackson had suffered cardiac arrest and fallen into a coma. His death had not been announced, but it was obvious.

I didn't have to tell my daughters who he was, but I did have to explain why his death was worthy of so much commotion and coverage.

My 12-year-old's view of Jackson was that of a singer who'd had one too many surgeries on his face and who once was accused of molesting a young boy. My 14-year-old saw him as a famous performer who was "actually black, and whose sister had a wardrobe malfunction onstage with Justin Timberlake." So they wondered why I was so sad at his passing.

Jackson was, without a doubt, a controversial figure. His contribution to the world of music was invaluable, but was overshadowed by the unusual changes in his appearance, and more importantly by the molestation allegations against him.

But for some reason, he continues to be revered by his fans, those who have followed his career from the beginning, those who have been inspired by his unique style, and those who appreciate his many humanitarian efforts throughout the years.

I clearly remember Michael Jackson as a child. I have always been one of his biggest fans. I recall watching the changes in his career, becoming a soloist, transforming his look, becoming introverted. And I always felt a kind of sympathy for him. He seemed to be a troubled young man who had fallen victim to his own success, losing his childhood and never being able to deal with it. Ironically, it was Neverland Ranch where he created a world of fantasy, only to end up getting lost in it.

People like Jackson and Fawcett remind us of an era.

For those of us who lived through those years, it's as if our youth flashes before our eyes and transports us to another time and place -- perhaps a time when the world was less convoluted and a place where icons were made of raw talent.

May Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett rest in peace. And may immigration reform become a reality this year.

KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

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