Where Are All of the Heroes

I was looking at another LMC's blog and she had a list of her heroes. Some alive, some deceased. I started to leave a comment with a list of my heroes when suddenly I realized, I didn't have any that were alive. I was actually surprised by this. After all, isn't it natural to have someone that you admire to the point that you would follow for a cause? Isn't that what hero is? Well, I went to Dictionary.com to find the technical term for the word and this is what I found:

1. In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
2. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life: soldiers and nurses who were heroes in an unpopular war.
3. A person noted for special achievement in a particular field: the heroes of medicine. See Synonyms at
4. The principal male character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

Based on this definition I will say that I know of people that have accomplish feats that made them heroic. But is that what we mean when we state that someone is our hero? I'm not sure. I guess when I say that so-and-so is my hero, what I am saying is that I believe in that person to the point where I would sacrifice something of myself to achieve his agenda. I am saying that I completely trust the moral fabric of that individual to the point that I would risk my life for their cause. And even still, I find it amazing that there isn't a single person alive that I would call my hero.

Sure, there are people that I admire but none spark a passion to the point that I would call them my hero. Now I'm wondering is that a reflection of my skepticism of people in the public arena or is it a reflection of the times that we live in where there are few people with the moral capacity and agenda to motivate me. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington and Paul Robeson are my heroes but how funny is it that no one alive can spark that same passion.

I admire Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, Susan Taylor, Barak Obama, Harold Ford Jr., Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Denzel Washington, Maxine Waters, Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Joyner and many more. But I don't consider them my heroes. The person that comes the closest to being a hero to me is Jimmy Carter. I'll have to blog about him one day. Until then, maybe I am missing something. Are we living in a world without heroes, or am I too blinded by my own cynicism to see them?


10 Responses to Where Are All of the Heroes

  1. Dan-E Says:
    my theory about the supposed lack of heros isn't that there are a lack of candidates. it has more to do with our elevated expectations of the people that are associated with the label of "Hero." Your prototypical Heros have the "all-American" look, has superpowers, is beyond reproach, and can do no wrong even if s/he wanted to.

    this may have worked a while ago but i think to try to affix those standards on real humans invariably leads to disappointment. we look for our heros to be better than us in some way but even the most well-meaning of humans fuck up one way or another, and it's unfortunate that people have trouble accepting that.

    that or they look for proficiency in one particular thing, be it sports, music, acting, etc. and expect that to somehow translate it to being a great human being, and that's rarely been the case. honestly, i think that term "Hero" has just been used and thrown around too easily and inappropriately. kinda like the drunken midget at a kid rock concert.

    and for what it's worth, the closest thing i have to a "Hero" is Bono of U2.
  2. James Manning Says:
    i think that term "Hero" has just been used and thrown around too easily and inappropriately. kinda like the drunken midget at a kid rock concert.

    LOL, man, where do you get it from. The image is burned in my mind and I can't stop laughing.

    Anyway, I think you are correct. But shouldn't the label of hero be something harder to achieve than admiration. I admired Walter Payton but he wasn't my hero - may an idol but not a hero.

    I think Bono is a good choice and I think someone like Jimmy Carter is a good one. But they do perform a great service to society so they've earned. Should we lower our standard so we have more heroes?

    Thx for commneting.
  3. nikki Says:
    standards shouldn't be lower so that more folk qualify as heroes. more folk should step their game up so that they become heroes in the true sense of the word.

    otherwise, why not just lower the qualifications for getting into the nfl playoffs by letting in the top fifteen teams? that way we'd have more teams in the playoffs...in the meanwhile, the quality of the playoffs would suffer, and really...what would it accomplish?

    same thing here
  4. bold as love Says:
    Jima' Carter,
    Just dayum James- Sometimes i think you say things just to piss me off, Ok, I'll give you jimmy Carter, at least you didn't say Bill Clinton was your hero. I admire Jimmy's work with Habitat for Humanity, I truly do, I saw it when it was first getting off the ground here in Georgia, and i believe it is His true legacy.
  5. James Manning Says:
    LOL @ Bold,

    I think it is everything the man has did since leaving office that makes him worthy of hero status.
  6. Dan-E Says:
    i'm glad you liked that, james ;) and i don't know if you noticed that little twist i put in that joke. by saying "the" drunken midget instead of "a" drunken midget i'm pretty much comfirming that there is in fact, a designated drunken midget whose sole purpose is being thrown around.

    i should have saved that line for my own blog. dammit =(
  7. MEP Says:
    The Little Mermaid, Anne of Green Gables, and Brenda Starr were some of my heros when I was younger. Hahaha - none of them are REAL! Yeah, I chose red-headed cartoon and book characters to be my heros.

    I have much more serious heros now.
  8. Dell Gines Says:
    I'm working on it blood, give me time to develop my super powers.
  9. Steve Says:
    I guess we gotta be our own hero now-a-days. Celebrate those who do right - whatever it is. But what WE do makes the difference, and provides the greatest satisfaction.

    My hero was my father. He passed away when I was young, but packed a lot of quality time into those first 13 years of my life. At 40 (that hurts to say out loud - just had a birthday), I measure what I do by my father's imagined approval. "What would pop say about this?"

    To me, that takes the ideology of heroes from childhood to adulthood.
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