Read the entire story: 1/2/2007 New York Times
A hero is the boy out for a walk who notices a man bobbing up and down in a large ice hole in the middle of a frozen lake. The boy takes off his shoes and coat and jumps in to hoist the man to safety. A hero is the man driving his car on the highway, he sees a burning wreck on the side of the road, he stops, he runs to the vehicle, reaches into the scorching hot car and pulls another driver to safety, saving a life. The boy walking and the man driving are not rescue trained civil servants performing obligations for pay and to meet performance expectations of their peers and supervisors, these hypothetical people are real heroes.
We cheapen the word hero by further exalting this title on people doing what they were expected to do. We make heroes out of every Tom, Dick and Harry in a uniform.
What did president select George W. Bush do that was hero like? It couldn’t have been his drunken AWOL service to our country in the Air National Guard. Might it have been the heroic manner he jumped around from military base to military base in Air Force One on September the 11th? Must be all the speeches he gave and continues to give on network television? If his speeches had some substance I might grant him a small degree of hero worship in that department, but the hyperboloid rhetoric that is contained in every speech reminds me more of a salesmen’s convention than substantive information for the public.
Copyright Reserved: James G. Mason, 2011
This editorial was first published