What has happened here in America? Where have all our heroes gone? Our politically-correct, afraid-to-offend and oh-dear-I-cannot-take-a-stand mentality has robbed us of the people who would genuinely inspire us and show us the way. We have become a country and culture that now celebrate mediocrity and somehow find value in the almost-prurient prying into the lives of people private and public. Our “American Icons” are now movie “stars,” reality TV wannabes and American Idol idiots.
Please, tell me again, why should I even give a damn about any of these people? Who are they? Why should they occupy space and time in our minds, hearts and daily concern? Where are those of true substance and grit; the people that show us what it is to be fully human and make us want to be somehow simply “more” than we are now? Where are those who have the guts to venture into uncharted seas of action without first needing the “thumbs-up” from a self-serving and dumbed-down public?
We no longer value the idea of simply doing the right thing because it is just that; right. There always seems to be a “me agenda” attached. What will I get out of it? And, why can’t I get, have, own or play with what the other guy has? Most seem not to take into any account that the “other guy” might have actually worked for; put some effort in and (oh my God!) actually practiced some self-denial to garner his accomplishments.
America has become a culture of flash and the big “bling!” Just because someone or something is louder, bigger, longer, stranger or more “out there,” we give them or it our attention. And, somehow, simply getting our attention equates to value. The “quiet” and “everyday” intent and actions that should be at the core of our value system are being steamrolled by an almost hysterical search for the extreme scream; for the biggest “look at me!”
And, the counter balance to this “pay attention to me” mindset is that what was once the norm-kindness, caring for the other guy, helping your neighbor, simple politeness – are now seen as extraordinary behavior. When neighbors help a home-bound woman on the block, they are touted as “heroes” for actions that are simply what “one does for another.” If these actions are seen as special, then we can so easily tell ourselves, “Well, that is for the other guy to do; that special person. Not me.”
We were once seen as a nation of heroes. We were a country of quiet (Oh, yes, please.), everyday Americans who simply knew what the right thing to do was; and we did it. Each of us was part of the whole; working together to get jobs done and missions accomplished. Today’s “Me first,” “Where’s mine?” and “It’s too hard” statements were completely foreign to the American mind and attitude.
To answer my own question, “Where have our heroes gone?” I believe they are still here. Their actions and heroics are quite simply no longer seen nor cared about; and we are so much the poorer, sadder and more lost because of it.