Purcell: Hi to our everyday local heroes | Opinion


A recent Reddit thread discusses the lack of heroes in modern society, but the truth is, we have a lot of heroes.

It is true that in the internet age, historical figures we once considered heroic are reassessed as their past misdeeds and personal peccadilloes come to light.

The celebrities we once looked up to have fallen out of favor when their off-camera misbehavior is discovered and publicized.

Religious institutions have devalued their moral capital and fomented heartbreak as their years of scandals and cover-ups are made public.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, the mantra of parents towards their children was “maybe you will become president someday”.

But this noble aspiration began to fade during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, as Americans became more cynical about the motives and actions of politicians.

Today, according to the Pew Resource Center, public confidence in government is ridiculously low.

A 2021 Pew study finds that only “about a quarter of Americans say they can trust the Washington government to do what’s right” almost always “(2%) or” most of the time “(22%) . “

Compare that to 1958, when 75 percent of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.

Placing someone too high on a hero’s pedestal is a dangerous game. No human – and no institution – is without flaws.

But there are still plenty of heroes.

A hero, according to an American Heritage dictionary definition, is “a person known for his feats of courage or nobility, especially one who risked or sacrificed his life.”

Acts of heroism are practiced daily by our men and women who serve in the military – soldiers placed by political leaders in often very difficult and dangerous situations.

WeAreTheMighty.com features many stories in which our men and women on duty have been exceptionally selfless and courageous, but even in my own social circles, I have seen many acts of heroism.

Two of my friends have opened their homes and their hearts to welcome children.

A friend had hoped to adopt two or three of the children, and she and her husband were heartbroken when the children’s biological parents brought them back to their dysfunctional homes.

But she and her husband won the day, and for over a decade raised an adopted son and daughter, giving them both the love and parental support they need to be productive and successful in their life. life.

Another friend saves dozens of abandoned and abused dogs from slaughter every year.

She and her husband take the dogs into their home, restore their health and hearts for as long as this process takes it, and then put them in homes that will love them.

Another friend prepares several meals one evening a week and distributes them to her elderly neighbors in need and in lockdown.

There are a lot of reasons to be cynical these days. The charlatans and politicians who have exploited COVID to stoke our fears and advance their ambitions are one of the biggest.

But there are many other reasons for hope.

Our world is full of ordinary people who quietly imbue our lives with kindness, beauty and compassion every day.

They are our real heroes. We just need to recognize them better.

Better yet, if we don’t already, we should be working on becoming everyday heroes ourselves.

– Tom Purcell is a humorous columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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