Ration Reality

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The World Needs Heroes

with 18 comments

A contribution from Citizen Prime. Please visit him at WorldWide Heroes Organization.

 If you haven’t been following the Real Life Super Heroes’ drama, you can catch up with these posts (don’t forget the comments, as they tell half the story).

-bagel


who logo

Today, the world needs heroes more than ever. In 1945, being a good man meant standing up for your neighbor as well as your country. It meant doing the right thing, and everyone knew what the right thing was. World War II was, arguably, our hour of greatest need and it bred men of amazing conviction and character as they fought against Hitler and what was called the Axis Powers. Today we are being attacked by a modern day axis of evil that threatens all freedom loving people.

The axis of disillusionment, fear and greed. These three powers have taken our culture by storm, infiltrating into every TV, radio and internet browser. And on the other side of this war lie the people of heroic character. They still exist. Yet, when heroes are mentioned, people are as likely to laugh as be combative. The tales of heroes, like our current war heroes, seem an exaggerated mythos to those who cannot conceive of the conviction it takes to do the right thing. And it is conviction at the heart of the matter. Yet, heroes do exist today and they exist all around us. Need proof? Zach Petkewicz’s quick thinking during the Virginia Tech shooting spree saved lives. Debra Boyd saved two people — a mother and her daughter — when a tornado hit the school where she worked. A store clerk talks with CNN’s John Roberts uncovers a plot to attack Fort Dix. See http://www.cnn.com/heroes for more about this brave souls. And these people are the merest tip of the iceberg. The honest truth is the hero is you, if given the right opportunity and you make the right choices.
 

So, how do you react when faced with those choices? Do you risk and possibly sacrifice your own well being to help someone in greater need? Imagine what it would be like if we all felt such kinship. Even today’s career criminals are not entirely immune to this concept of camaraderie. The genesis of gangs was an effort to protect and serve one’s own. That noble origin might be a far cry from gang activity today. As disillusionment in society, fear of harm or death and greed to get whatever one could sets in, the concept is entirely lost to decadence. But ironically, their roots were about family. What if we could all broaden that sense of protection for what we perceive as “our own” until we literally had no outsiders left?

What if we could learn the values of tolerance, understanding and treat everyone as we do our inner circle? Imagine the future we could offer our children. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a better life for their children.When Sen. Barack Obama asked his daughter what we are here on earth for, she replied, “To help each other get through this.” As children, we have that natural sense of community. Somewhere along the way, we get disillusioned about that communal instinct. Convinced that we can’t flourish with such “naive” standards as universal acceptance and brotherhood. So, we come to the adult stance of “might makes right” and “if they want something, they take it.” Whether verbal, social or physical, it all amounts to the same – bullying. In a way, that’s okay.

We have to find the bullies. We can’t discuss the issue unless we know who to discuss it with. Only then can we have a meaningful dialogue with them about what it really means to protect themselves and protect their families. We could start with a question: When did you lose that natural sense of brotherhood and sisterhood? What straw broke your back? Was it the constant fear of growing up in a bad neighborhood? Was it the disillusionment of friendship lost due to hard choices growing up? Was it a friend who turned his back to us for a payday? Whatever it was, it was not any one thing or person. It was those negative values we live with in this era of free thinking. Fear, greed and disillusionment. The current Axis of Evil.And the one thing that has been around, since World War II – since forever – is the inspiration of heroes that are larger than life to illuminate values we want to emulate in our lives. Whether it was Zeus, Superman, or Captain America, its easy to see why we find the myths compelling. They live above the moral spaghetti bowl we deal with and cut wide swaths through their problems with unbridled powers and clear conscience decisions.

And the question of the day, of our day, is do we want to focus on the fear, greed and disillusionment that surrounds us? Do we want to add to it by attacking and belittling each other? Or, possibly, do we want to emulate those traits of heroes past and present, real and fictional, that stand up for what is right? Do we want to have the moral fiber to stand against a bullying onslaught and respond with rational kindness and strength of character? The answer is in our actions and it is those actions that define us as hero or not. Regardless of your choice, throughout human history, one thing has remained constant. We all absolutely need to have heroes. Today, the world is in short supply. One exists inside everyone. Bring it out. Be the hero in your own life and I assure you, you’ll soon find you are a hero to many.


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Written by The Bagel of Everything

July 12, 2007 at 4:36 pm

18 Responses

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  1. Prime’s well spoken as usual.

    Superhero

    July 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm

  2. If every Real Life Superhero were as rational, reasonable and genuine as Superhero, Slapjack and Citizen Prime, I think the the whole movement would be less susceptible to ridicule. I commend you on your noble intentions and support your causes

    Soylent Ape

    July 12, 2007 at 6:37 pm

  3. Thanks SH and Soylent Ape. I thought I would offer a differing perspective from the crraziness I’ve seen here.

    Reading past blogs, I don’t think RationReality readers have much alignment with my perspective. Still, I do love to hear from the exceptions (or even the nay sayers).

    I’ll be checking back every so often. Keep up the good work, guys.

    Citizen Prime

    July 13, 2007 at 10:09 am

  4. Nice article here C-P

    ZG

    Zeitgeist

    July 13, 2007 at 12:18 pm

  5. It is a great article, and I agree with it. But I still don’t see how this relates to dressing up like a superhero and making an ass out of yourself.

    Glen

    July 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

  6. I like your direction to make a difference in this world.

    G.I.T.S.

    July 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm

  7. Glen, I agree the connection is not a necessary one. Dressing up like a superhero is one of the ways WHO (Worldwide Heroes Organization) raises awareness of the need for real heroes in this world.

    Although there are other good folks who use the iconic inspiration of superheroes for their own worthwhile purposes (Superhero, for example) the decision to put on the cape should have a good reason above and beyond ego fulfillment, so your comment is relevant one.

    We feel raising awareness is a very good reason, and we are happy to provide that focus if it brings people out of their own comfort zones to consider helping their community be a better, safer place to live.

    Take care, Glen. I hope you’d consider joining the movement and doing some good out there.

    Citizen Prime

    July 13, 2007 at 2:55 pm

  8. Awesome article Citizen Prime. Worded beautifully. SuperHero, I loved your article too. Thank you for the kind words Ape…I am glad you have gotten to know some of us. I really hope with these articles we will not be looked at as jokes, but as humans, who want to make a difference…we just do it a little differently.

    Regards
    -Slapjack

    Slapjack

    July 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

  9. Have you considered that perhaps you may be doing your message a disservice by the use of the superhero costume? It DOES appear to be simple ego fullfillment, because the message has nothing at all to do with being a “super” hero, but rather common people taking a heroic stance against ordinary evils. Wearing the costume may get attention, but not the sort of attention that will generally be positive for a serious movement.

    Glen

    July 14, 2007 at 1:25 am

  10. I can’t speak for everyone who has a costume, but I can speak for WHO and myself.

    And, looking at the evidence, since WHO and Citizen Prime has officially started, we have been featured on:
    Fox and Friends Morning Show
    Phoenix Magazine
    Channel 12 News
    The Moment of Zen (on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart)
    Talk Soup
    and a smattering of radio morning and talk shows.

    So – yes! – it appears that the message is working. Not with everyone, but we see it getting out there. The people who like it are the people that are inspired to come forth and help.

    And I would ask you to consider, Glen, are you helping the world in some way, as well? I hope the answer is yes, and it certainly doesn’t have to be through superhero inspiration. I would like to think I’m having this conversation with someone who is genuinely trying to find meaningful ways to lift the world up.

    So, to summarize the answer to your question, Glen, whether you personally like the idea or not, many people do get the connection to superhero imagery. Its taking shape in positive ways and were making serious headway at WHO.

    Thanks for asking. Make sure you check us out at worldwideheroes.org.

    Citizen Prime

    July 14, 2007 at 10:27 am

  11. Prime …

    I can’t speak for anyone else of course. For myself, yes, I have done a good bit to make the world a better place.

    How? Here’s a sampling of some of the things:

    -Took down a guy that had just robbed a post office at gunpoint, and was currently robbing a mini-mart. (In fairness though, I didn’t know about the post office or the gun … it just looked to me like he was doing a grab-n-run at the on-base mini-mart. If I’d known about the gun I’d have either stepped aside or looked for something bigger than my fist to hit him with.)

    -Intercepted several drug-carrying vessels at sea, stopping MANY tons of cocaine from reaching the US.

    -Rescued refugees at sea, many of them floating along with no engines, no fresh water, and no food.

    Was I wearing a uniform during these things? Yes, but it was a fairly simple one with a lot of history behind it: black shoes, khaki pants and shirt, with two little silver bars on each collar point, and a gold pin on the chest showing a ship’s bow cutting through the waves, over a pair of crossed sabers.

    jessecuster

    July 14, 2007 at 10:44 am

  12. Well, not being able to find anything but the first part of that FOX segment, I can’t really say whether or not the media attention is a good or bad thing. The first part of the FOX segment wasn’t overtly negative, but there certainly was a condescending undertone. I would have liked to see the last part of the segment, with Citizen Prime, to see if it concluded on a less ridiculing note. All I’m trying to say is being made fun of because you’re grown men running around in superhero outfits isn’t exactly the type of media attention that causes most other grown people to want to be a part of something.

    However, I could certainly see it being a huge attractor for kids. Have you considered starting a children’s program where kids get to dress up in their own superhero outfits, don their own secret identities, and then go clean up the town in a group (led by an adult in costume, of course)? I did check out your website, but it didn’t really say anything about what you actually DO at all, just the basic concepts behind your organization.

    As to whether or not I better the world, that is certainly a matter of perspective. I am a full-time self-employed artist, so I’d like to feel that my entire life is spent “Lifting the world up.” But I’m sure others would peceive my work as useless or even harmful.

    Glen

    July 14, 2007 at 12:09 pm

  13. First, I’d like to take a moment and thank Jesse for his service to our country and more specifically, to the good people he helped in many ways. Thank you, Jesse.

    And yea, had a fun incident regarding a robbery myself, very similar to your smash-n-grab. Funny how those things just happen out of the blue, eh? You can read about it here, if you’d like. http://prime.vox.com/library/post/this-one-time-in-the-mens-room.html

    As for worldwideheroes.org, Glen, you are absolutely right. There is much to do and I don’t want anyone to get the impression we think we have all our ducks in a row. We don’t! If anyone wanted to donate some time to helping an up and coming organization, we would love it!

    And yes, buried in the site there are some of our ideas for kids. School assembles, hospital visits, Sub for Santa programs, etc, and so forth. Most interesting right now, a school program that we are working on as we speak. It will be fantastic, but like most our projects, we are just getting started. Keep in mind, we are brand spanking new as far as non-profits go.

    I’ll include the link for Part II of the Fox story at the end of this comment. My apologies this isn’t on the site yet either.

    But first a note about the core of this most interesting discussion. Being made fun of … looking ridiculous … all that. Chris, the other co-founder of WHO and I have this discussion all the time. While wearing polos and stating our cause would seem very respectable and I think there is nothing wrong with that, one of the biggest challenges for non-profits is raising awareness. This concept raises awareness. It is not without challenges. Being lumped in with the Real Life Super Hero movement (which Chris and I have roots in) but we consider WHO as separate from that community in concept and practice.

    None the less, the answer you are looking for is this: when I meet people face to face as Citizen Prime and tell them what we are doing, they are so very excited about it. And, yes, they are adults. So its not the costume, for most people with open minds, its about what’s behind it that counts. If its just running around the streets in costume finding random crime – well, that’s one way to do it and I can respect that desire to help – but I would concede, you have a very limited number of people who will take you seriously.

    On the other hand, if you use the superhero inspiration to remind people of why they liked superheroes in the first place and spark that inspiration that makes them want to go out and do some good in this world, then … you are onto something.

    And even Allison, the news reporter in the Fox Story, who you thought had a sense of condescension, gushed about what we are doing to us off the air. More than that, she insisted on dressing up as “Ace Reporter.” Think about the work they put into this story! Including organizing my satellite feed from Sydney, where I was vacationing at the time! Meaning, yes, she got it. And I think the effort they put in shows they were excited about it. And getting it means understanding we are doing this to help others, and to raise awareness of the hero inside of people like Jesse and like you. And to answer your other inference as to whether you are making this world a better place, it’s a very subjective line but if you truly believe you are, then you’ve got my support.

    Finally, here’s the link to Part II.

    http://www.foxnews.com/video2/launchPage.html?061807/061807_ff_hero2&Hero%20Next%20Door%20pt.2&FOX_Friends&Real-life%20heroes%20take%20to%20America%27s%20streets&FOX%20&%20Friends&Hero%20Next%20Door%20pt.2&Video%20Launch%20Page&-1

    Citizen Prime

    July 14, 2007 at 11:09 pm

  14. I think that these people who risk their lives going out as a real life super hero are amazing.
    I agree with prime that there is a hero in everyone if you truly believe you can change the world ,you can.
    I am now a super hero to and I am the quincy ,my arrow never misses.

    The Quincy

    November 6, 2007 at 1:04 am

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