November 13, 2012
People are people. Profound, I know, but it explains why I have no heroes.
I don't mean to pick on General David Petraeus, but he's a good -- and latest example. The general and, until last week, CIA director, was by all measures and accounts a good and honorable man. And he still is, save for the human foible of an extramarital affair that caused him to resign.
But that explains why I don't have "heroes." I admire aspects and qualities about people. I marvel at their individual achievements or the selfless actions they do for the greater good. Reflections on this past Veterans Day are a perfect example of that.
Because we are all human, however, we are bound to be imperfect. Put a person on a pedestal and it is bound to come unbolted. Petraeus is just this week's unmooring. Before him, there was Lance Armstrong, Joe Paterno, and a long list before them.
These are all good people in their individual achievements and their actions for community, but they are human. They are not immune to greed, hubris, lust, wrath, envy, all the terrible undoings.
The ones we call our heroes are bound to let us down, like the star athlete selling autographs so he can feed his drug addiction or the politician who wants to run a country but can't manage his own zipper.
So I don't have heroes. I do not enjoy being struck dumb when they are struck down, so I don't set myself up for it. I respect the coaching talents of Joe Paterno, the drive of Lance Armstrong, the command of David Petraeus. And if I got to shake their hands, I'd say, "It's an honor to meet you." It would be.
But I would not say, "You're my hero." It simply wouldn't be true.