Every once in awhile a situation comes along that kinda hurts. This is one of them.
Patch has embarked on its Readers Choice Awards, and when we came to the notion of picking the Rancho Santa Margarita area's favorite local celebrity, I got hit by a rock.
And was knocked into a hard place.
Fans of , not even 1 when she died last year as the local poster child for organ donation, began nominating her by the scores as their local celebrity of choice. And that's where it gets really difficult. To explain something that people—nice people—may not want to hear.
Ruby Jane isn't a celebrity. Not for our purposes, anyway.
Neither is , who died last year with the United States Marines in Afghanistan.
Neither is , who created the Joy Jars concept and is the sparkplug behind Never Ever Give Up. Actually, Jessica Joy did do a commercial before she died in January, which gives her a leg up on celebrityhood over Ruby Jane and Cpl. Stanton.
- Who is Rancho Santa Margarita's favorite local celebrity? You decide by
- Vote for the Best of RSM in the Patch Readers' Choice Awards. Find the .
But it's not fair to the legacy of any of these young people to pit them against an actress, an author, a golfer living a whirlwind, NFL quarterbacks or a future hockey Hall of Famer in what amounts to a popularity contest.
There, I said it. Popularity contest. Facebook campaign. Social media manipulation.
No one should feel guilty for not voting for an infant who didn't get much of a chance in her few months of life but who inspired thousands to join the organ donation registry through the effort of her parents, Ani and Matt Taylor.
Nor should anyone feel guilty for not voting for a 12-year-old battling cancer who courageously faced it while trying to put happy faces on other kids looking at similarly dark times.
Nor should anyone feel guilty for not voting for a serviceman who volunteered for the point one day in one of Afghanistan's worst areas knowing that an IED could have his name on it—and did.
But placing Ruby Jane, Jessie and Cpl. Stanton into a contest would have done exactly that. Would have made people unnecessarily choose who was more inspirational, who was less inspirational, would have somehow assigned a value to them.
That's unfair to the readers of Patch, and I won't put them in such a position because I have too much respect for them. And too much respect for the families of Ruby Jane, Jessie and Jordan. And too much respect for Ruby Jane, Jessie and Jordan themselves.
Maybe as their legacies grow, it will change. Time has a funny way of doing that. But not now. It's too soon.
To all those well-intentioned people who thought it a good idea to nominate one of these three tragic figures, you'll thank me in the future for not making a community choose sides.
So that's why these local "celebrities," by the definition of some, aren't part of the celebrity poll.
They don't deserve the disservice.