27 April 2009

Former Miss Idaho's take on the crown controversy

It has been days since the 2009 Miss USA Pageant; still it lingers in the media spotlight. The odd thing is not the amount of attention this pageant has attracted, but rather the fact that our new Miss USA, Kristen Dalton, isn't the source of the attention. Instead, first runner-up Miss California, Carrie Prejean, has become the hot topic of discussion on American airwaves following a controversial on-stage answer.

Pageants define themselves as an opportunity for women to promote their individual causes and celebrate their unique accomplishments. The Miss USA Pageant has been recognized as being a premier international pageant organization helping to develop the future of bright young women, testing their knowledge of current events, and their ability to successfully represent the United States in the Miss Universe competition.

This is where the controversy begins. Should Miss USA be a woman who speaks her mind, and thus follow what she believes in her heart; or should she be politically correct as a representation of our diverse country? The pageant heated up after celebrity judge, Perez Hilton, asked the final on-stage question to Miss California, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage, do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not?, " Hilton asked.

Instant debate sparked when Prejean responded with the following, "Well I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same sex marriage or opposite marriage, and you know what, in my country and in, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there. But that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be between a man and a woman."

Prejean has since reported to several national news outlets that she believes she lost the crown because of her response, but still would not change her answer if given another chance.

After this falling out, the question must be asked, should pageantry move away from questions that put contestants on the spot, defending their personal values and beliefs?

Or are these questions in place to test the ability of our future queen to appropriately represent the entire U.S. culture on a national level?

The fact is, Carrie Prejean was not deprived of the crown based solely on her answer to Mr. Perez's question.

The Miss USA Pageant celebrity judges included a collection of 12 media savvy personalities from different professions who know what it takes to be in the spotlight. This year's judges put their vote on Kristen Dalton, as being the all-around package. As a collective they believed she would best represent our country out of the 51 contestants competing.

Reevaluate the facts behind the controversy and take a look at the woman who was actually crowned Miss USA. There may be further insight as to why she captured this honor.

Kristen Dalton is a 22-year-old graduate from East Carolina University. She served as Vice-President of the Psychology Honor Society and Vice-President of Leadership for ODK National Leadership Honors Society
at ECU.

Dalton is also dedicated to mission work around the world and plans to assist with an Aids Campaign in South Africa.

by Lisa Hamman