We Must Stop Putting Our Heroes on Pedestals, For They Topple Too Easily
As is the custom in an election year, I keep getting into fights on Facebook over political matters. Because of the online spaces I inhabit, the general theme is, Joe Biden is a terrible candidate, and not a true progressive, and not as good as Bernie Sanders.
The unfortunate mistake that Bernie Sanders supporters keep making is that they put him on a high pedestal that nobody else can climb to. Now I’m not saying Bernie Sanders is a bad guy, I’m simply saying that some see him as perfect, and unimpeachable, and that is just not true. First off, Bernie Sanders likes rape. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. In addition to that, Bernie Sanders turned his back on Tara Reade, and endorsed Joe Biden for President after his campaign encouraged her to come out and make false allegations. Bernie also co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont’s nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, which earned him the label of environmental racist. Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton and Biden for supporting the 1994 crime bill that HE HIMSELF voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system which has saved over a thousand children from being kidnapped.
Now, I’m not writing this article to humiliate Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s done a good enough job of that on his own. What I’m trying to articulate is that we must recognize that our heroes are flawed human beings, just as we are.
Merriam Webster has 5 or 6 definitions for Hero. Most of them have to do with perfect figures of heroism, idols worthy of worship, etc. However, the two definitions I like most are:
c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities
d: one who shows great courage
It’s not just that I like these definitions, but I think it’s important we remember these definitions. Heroes are real people, with flaws just as strong as their virtues. Sometimes the bigger the hero, the bigger the flaw.
Now you may say I’m wrong, but let me provide some salient examples.
Stephen Hawking was a womanizer who cheated on his wife. So was Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, JFK, Jackson Pollock, and Pablo Picasso.
Ghandi was, by all accounts, a terrible father, and also really racist towards black people when he was a lawyer in South Africa.
FDR instituted Japanese internment camps, and he was supported by Dr. Seuss. Yes, Dr. Seuss was a racist sonofabitch. Harry Truman would be considered by some to be a war criminal for using the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Henry Ford, Roald Dahl, H.G. Wells, and Woodrow Wilson were irredeemable racists, and anti-semites.
The Dalai Lama is in favor of world peace, and even wants to protect the whales, but believes abortion is unacceptable, and an act of killing. However, he has stated that abortion is acceptable “if the unborn child will be retarded” but at least he wants to protect the whales.
Michael Jackson, Charlie Chaplin, and Woody Allen were all sexual predators who enjoyed the company of children.
Mother Teresa’s missions, despite having tons of charitable donations at their disposal, rarely — if ever — actually helped poor, sick people become healthy. In fact, most of these places, according to a 2013 paper published in Studies in Religion, were dirty, short on doctors, low on food, and largely bereft of painkillers. Nevertheless, Teresa found the suffering beautiful, like it was making the world a better, holier place. We know this because she said it to the famously anti-religious writer Christopher Hitchens: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering.”
Jackie Chan is actually hated by many people in China for supporting the authoritarian Chinese government of Xi Jinping. Other Chinese stars have supported authoritarian actions, like Chinese actress, and star of Disney’s Mulan, Liu Yifei.
Bill Gates, as highlighted in the Netflix documentary, Inside Bill’s Brain, he was indicted for anti-Monopoly laws, and wants to open up a new generation of Nuclear power plants, which when they go bad, they REALLY go bad. His rival, Steve Jobs, was an egomaniacal narcissist.
And if you’re thinking, ‘well, those are all left-wing, bleeding heart liberals, my heroes are unimpeachable’ I’d like to remind you that early in his administration, Abraham Lincoln advocated for sending African-Americans back to Africa. Conservative prime minister, Winston Churchill, was a terrible white supremacist.
John Wayne (who drove many innocent people to suicide through his support of the Hollywood Blacklist) in a 1971 interview with Playboy magazine, Wayne admitted he didn’t like African-American people (or “the blacks” as he constantly called them) being in charge of anything because white people are apparently the only people who know what they’re doing. As he said in the interview, “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.”
Also, here is a list of the 68 out of the 149 founding fathers who owned slaves.
Also, how many popes turned a blind eye to child molestation and child rape all around the world?