and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the earth,ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood."
While I sipped a morning Pepsi and reflected on more of today's bad news, courtesy of CNN, I was thinking about heroes, American heroes, in general. Have we become immune, indifferent, to heroes? I just spent a few days visiting an old Chicago friend who has now moved out West. I often see her over the MLK holiday weekend and she never fails to point out to me that Dr. King Jr. was a man of faults and flaws. She rattles off "facts" about him I've never heard from any other source, but we don't watch the same news channels. That makes me wonder, not just about Martin Luther King Jr. but all who are held up as heroes. When Mother Teresa died, many journalists couldn't wait to write negative things about her. Whether the person is a rock star trying to ease the troubles of Africa, a charismatic U.S. president, or a generous philanthropist, we like to drag our heroes off the pedestal and hang them out to dry, don't we?
Is that good for our society? Is it a way of showing that heroes are ordinary people, too? Or does it harm us with the insistence that nobody is "that good," and therefore goodness isn't worth the try? I do understand that everyone's idea of a hero is different. But if we reach a point where every person's hero is tainted by disdain and a microscopic attention to their flaws, who will help us dream and reach higher?
Do you have heroes? It can be healthy and reinvigorating to revisit your heroes and the Library offers numerous and excellent portals into their lives and actions. Use the online Catalog to search for books & movies about your heroes - and music, if your heroes are musical or inspired musical works by others - MLK is the subject of many a fine song, including the one that started this post. Get a variety of opinions and sources - remember that "unauthorized" biographies are often pieced together from tabloid magazines and newspaper clippings, but can make for entertaining reads. I think having a hero or two, even if they are members of your own family, is really important for us as human beings, as members of a productive society and as Americans.