Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

I’m in something of a cynical mood this week. Maybe it’s lack of sleep. Maybe it’s just the weather, with all those negative ions in the air. But whatever it is, it’s giving me the blues.

My latest worry: who will be my children’s heroes?

In today’s day and age, it seems to me that there exists a continual sound of disappointment emanating from the general population in the direction of anyone in the spotlight. In other words, we have a complete lack of faith in people, especially famous ones. No one appears ready, able, and most of all willing to be a hero anymore. Most people in the spotlight are content to be idols, without a thought of trying to give back.

Sports figures are nothing more than career criminals & drug users, who are better at throwing, catching, hitting, kicking, or shooting than everyone else. The cream of the crop of each individual sport only want more money, bigger bonuses, and more endorsements. And what do we see of them outside their arenas and stadiums? Congressional investigations into steroid use, domestic violence, assault, drunk driving, and a host of other criminal infractions. Let’s try to name three players from each major sport who aren’t retired, who haven’t been embroiled in some kind of controversy, and who actually try to make the world a better place, shall we?

Baseball: can’t think of a single one
Football: Doug Flutie,
Basketball: ha!
Hockey: ??
Anything else: Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong (the controversy hasn’t stuck to him yet),

Ok, how about celebrities? To be a celebrity today means that you are not necessarily a good actor or singer, but that you are made to appear as one. If you are beautiful, you are more than halfway there. To put such an emphasis on the physical aspects of a person is not, in my opinion, something to be admired. However, there are still those who, in spite of their sub-par looks, manage to be successful at their trade. That does not make them heroes either. Let’s make a list of actors and singers who give back more than they take:

Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Paul Newman, Michael J. Fox

One would think that with all the exposure, all the attention, all the fame, there would be a longer list. One would be wrong.

Ok, how about politics? I admire one politician. John McCain. Jimmy Carter isn’t too bad either. The rest of them can rot. The problem with politics is that “serving the people” is a term that has long been forgotten by the politicians.

What about science and medicine? Doctors save lives every day. They are all heroes, but we only hear about the ones that screw up. Scientists’ jobs are to make the world a better place to live. They also are heroes. How often do we hear about them? We don’t even honor our astronauts anymore.

Religion? Religion seems to be the source of most of the world’s problems. How can a hero be found in that?

Literature? Stop someone on the street and challenge them to name 5 authors who are alive. Challenge them to name one poet.

Business? There are a few successful business men and women out there who put greater weight on morality rather than money. They are the quiet ones.

Am I to raise my kids with the notion that the only heroes left are policemen, firemen, and soldiers?