It may sound old fashioned, clichéd even. But…we need heroes.
Often the heroes that have a wide spread inspirational impact are fictional. But don’t hold that against them. Being fictional does NOT mean they are not “real” or that they do not impact the “real” world in a very meaningful way.
How many people became scientists, astronauts, NASA personnel because they were inspired by the fictional heroes in Star Trek and Star Wars?
How many people became policemen, firemen, EMT professionals etc because they were inspired by the likes of Sherlock Holmes or Batman?
In the Captain America movie, don’t you get a lump in your throat when Cap comes marching back with the soldiers he helped rescue? I know I do.
Didn’t Rocky inspire millions of people to understand that there is no shame in being knocked down as long as you give everything you have to get back up again?
We have a common need to be inspired by heroes. We aspire to be more like those exemplars. This common cultural need goes back all the way to the very first story tellers in ancient times. How many were inspired by Achilles, Agamemnon and Hercules? How many tried to be like them?
My old friend Ray and I were talking yesterday about how fictional heroes like Superman provide (even for adults) a symbol of something better. Ray and I are a pair of crotchety curmudgeons but we share a world view in which concepts like honor, duty and heroes are inspirations, not punch lines.
Heroes give us something to aspire to. It is why there has been such a hot debate over the ending of The Man of Steel. But it got me to thinking about one of the first mottoes if you will, that helped me define who I am at my core.
It inspired me to aspire…at age six.
Truth Justice and the American way.
It was the last line in the opening of the old Adventures Of Superman TV series.
It is such a well known slogan that it became trivialized over the years. Almost something to be embarrassed about. A punch line.
Then I see where the Supreme Court made two major rulings that go a long way in providing Truth Justice and The American way to a large portion of fellow Americans and I wonder how anyone could ever trivialize or be embarrassed about “The American way”.
I remember when students, black and white were killed on freedom rides. I remember when women were little more than chattel in the practical sense. I remember good men dying in Dallas, in Memphis and in LA.
It’s been nearly 50 years since we lost John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. They were men who believed in Truth Justice and the American way. They died believing in it.
Fast forward not SO many years and we have a man of color in the White House. Something I never thought I would see.
I am a white, heterosexual married man and I will say that without a doubt that the day that Barcak Obama was elected President was my proudest day as an American. It doesn’t matter what you think of the President as a politician, or even how he does his job. It is the FACT of Mr. Obama as our President that speaks to Truth Justice And The American Way.
What makes it even more uplifting is that he gets NO breaks for being a man of color. He is treated as The President, not The Black President. . He gets beat up in the press as much as any WHITE President! There’s equality for you!!A subtle distinction, I grant you but another example of truth Justice And The American Way
In a pair of major rulings on Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled that married same sex couples are entitled to the same rights and privileged as heterosexual couples. This ruling was appropriate, common sense and American. The very fact that we even have to legislate for equal rights of any segment of our citizens speaks to the fact that, for as far as we have traveled, there is a long way to go.
Freedom is an absolute. It does not, and cannot apply to one person or group of people. It must apply to everyone or none of us is really free. Lincoln once observed that when ONE person is denied freedom we are ALL in chains. He could not have been more correct. Mr. Lincoln would have loved “Adventures Of Superman”.
Here’s the bottom line. ALL Americans are entitled to equal rights under the law. No exceptions, no questions. Individual sensibilities are irrelevant. ALL Americans get equal rights.
Just my opinion? Sure. But it is also…
Truth Justice And The American Way.
I learned that when I was six… from Superman.