The recent controversy over proposed changes to the Miss America Pageant rules leaves me speechless. I have long ignored the silliness of the beauty pageant scene. However, when Cal Thomas dedicated an entire op-ed column to the vital need to preserve the current regulations concerning marriage, divorce and pregnancy, arguing that Miss America must live up to the lyrics of the Miss America song, where she is praised as "our ideal," I could not stay silent.
As the mother of three daughters, I could never imagine teaching them that "our ideal" is a young woman who has dedicated a large part of her youth to polishing and profiting from her physical appearance. If Thomas wants me to sing about "our ideal," it will be to a young woman who has spent time and energy polishing her spirit and soul, caring for others.
My "ideal" miss has focused on developing her inner gifts, gifts that don't need to be honed through cosmetic surgery and piles of makeup, gifts that grow deeper through the years, gifts that are enhanced, not nullified, by marriage and pregnancy. I expect the pageant folk to take these regulations seriously. But I pray that the rest of us stay focused on truer ideals.