February 28, 2010 by Bill
Three Army enlisted men got lost and were captured. The three soldiers came home to receive FIVE medals each by an Army General. They were called “real heroes,” got a Purple Heart, and practically a ticker tape parade. Now is the time for you to gag. I already have. Army veterans around this nation flooded the Defense department with furious outrage. Knowing the Marine Corps as well as I do, I am sure they would have been given nothing had they been Marines. The real heroes of Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Korea, and Iraq would be horrified.
We have become a nation filled with phony heroes. Jocks and movie stars are called “heroes.”
An Air Force pilot was shot down a number of years ago, ate bugs and hid out. Anyone with an I.Q. above 5 would have done the same thing. He survived, period. He came home to be “congratulated” by the President of the United States. The media went berserk over this “hero.” We live in an age of the phony heroes of the “common man.” Lesser men and women flinch before real heroes.
Our first six Presidents would write and speak clearly what they believed about Christianity and the tyranny of the church. As men of integrity, they did so without regard for any political consequences from the bible thumpers. Ordinary men and women flinched, and still do today. Great men and women make small men and women aware of their smallness.
American history scholars writing for the Encyclopedia Britannica said it clearly: “One of the embarrassing problems for the champions of the Christian faith is the fact that not one of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian.” (Chicago; Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, vol. 2, p. 420. Mortimer J. Adler, editor-in-chief, “The Annals of America: Great Issues in American Life: A Conspectus”)
Barry Goldwater would speak in clear language about what has happened to the Republican party with the “lunatics” of the religious and political right wing, and lesser people flinch.
“It is not society that is to guide the creative hero,” wrote Joseph Campbell, “but it is the hero who saves society.”
Albert Einstein said it this way: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
An age without great men and women, and authentic heroes, drifts. And so we call three lost soldiers, a pilot shot down and trying to survive, jocks, movie stars and (mealy-mouthed) politicians, “heroes.”
Real greatness is difficult for lesser men and women to handle, or to recognize. They flinch before great spirits, and so are content to settle for phony heroes and counterfeit lives.