When my son was about 16 he put up a poster of Che Guevara on his bedroom wall. Being a cold warrior who served 4 years in the Strategic Air Command, I was naturally alarmed, but hid it to inquire about his reason for this objectionable show of admiration.
“Che was cool!” was his retort and he punched the stapler in the bottom left corner to finish the installation. I was careful to inquire how much he knew about the man and of course it was very little and honestly, he thought the guy simply looked cool with his wavy black hair.
I gave him a piece of advice I picked up somewhere and it has been a mantra of mine for years. “Be careful who you make into a hero.” In wartime, the difference between a hero and a coward is one solitary action and it may swap the very next day. On top of that, hero status can change drastically.
Take the modern day hero Ronald Reagan for instance. Reagan is often cited as an example of what a real president should be, but I well remember back 30 years ago, people hated that guy. I hated him. I was laid off from Arco Chemical because of him and I had a “for life” job. Over the years he has become a symbol of doing everything right.
Mahatma Gandhi is another person people love to sing his laurels, but according to the Bible, he was worse than an infidel because he would not care for his own family. His wife would beg him to keep just enough donations that they could eat, but he gave it all away and refused his own children an education. Please don’t take my word for it. Research it for yourself.
Al Gore was lauded as a hero for bringing to light global warming and Barack Obama for giving the world hope to the point that they were both awarded Nobel Peace prizes. Both were major failures on nearly everything they promised.
I am not insinuating that there are not real heroes. We are surrounded by them and don’t realize it. No, they don’t sell millions of records, play professional sports, or win Academy Awards. They are those of us that awaken to an alarm clock and get up and go to work every day when we hate every second of it.
It is that mom or dad that corrects their kids when they do wrong and teach them how to behave properly in society. They parent their children by “imposing restrictions” so their kid isn’t a jailbird by the time they can drive. Heroes sacrifice their own lives so others may succeed. If you get nothing more out of this column than that last statement, I have made my point.
Men and women who work 60 plus hours a week so their family can have a few extras and do it year after year are real heroes to me. They change stinky poopie diapers, or tend the sick, or “drag them kids” to the dentist on a regular basis. They dog their children at school and refuse to let them drop out. They set standards and enforce them.
No, a hero isn’t that big guy that can bench press 500 pounds or the woman who wins a national title in a bathing suit. It isn’t the comedian who can make millions laugh or the musical artist with the raunchiest lyrics. Its guys like my friend Don Cunningham who puts his heart into writing daily parables to lift up those around him. It’s Ken Pridgeon who paints with a labor of love all those military heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Unfortunately it has become politically correct to erase the history of some heroes of our country and it is a scary path I hope we do not continue to go down. A hero of mine is Ben Franklin and in a lot of ways, old Ben was not a hero, but we live a better life because of his scientific experiments. Did you know Ben Franklin is regarded as the greatest scientist of the 18th century?
Ren Fitts is a hero to me. He is an advocate for Veterans and an unselfish one too. Although battling 100% disability from the things he suffered in Vietnam, he is quick to help any veteran obtain their benefits. He has enough ailments for ten people due to the war, but is so encouraging that I see him as an example of how people should be.
I recently had construction work done at my house by Duane Peterson and his crew. This is the second time I’ve hired him and his attention to detail in a time when no one wants to give you a smidgeon of service bumps him up to near hero status. Is it just me or does anyone else want at least what we are paying for?
Be careful who you elevate to hero status especially in front of your kiddos. Some of these folks stink worse than poopie diapers. It just takes time for them to ferment.