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Published:March 11th, 2009 21:22 EST
Hero Poll:  Who is your hero?

Hero Poll: Who is your hero?

By Clinton Van Inman



Do we have real heroes today or do they exist only in the movies? 10,000 B.C., Beowulf, Alexander, Troy, 300 and other movies depict heroes in the classical tradition and remind us what it means to be human.  But some thinkers maintain that we have no real heroes and aver that we have become an emasculated, weakened, and dead race of idle clerks in a dead system. 


Having no heroes is the reason why we invent them on the big screen. We love a winner and a hero even more. Hero worship is older than Homer.  Heroes play a big part in our history and would be boring without their personal signatures. We all need someone to look up to and give a reason for our existence.  Still others maintain that the role of our heroes has changed in our evolutionary culture and that our heroes are less visible and remain unheralded.  We have so many heroes that they remain less evident.


But the real question is do we have heroes today?  I guess the only way to find out is to take it to the streets and get some viable answers.  I conducted a poll where I simply asked the question:  who is your hero? and, a tougher question: why is this person your hero?  I surveyed hundreds of people.  Here are the results of the Hero Poll:


                                     Lebron James            57

                                     President Obama       76

                                     A close relative          88

                                     Coby Bryant              84

                                     Tiger Woods              17

                                     Bill Gates                     6

                                     John McCain                5

                                     Hillary Clinton           10

                                     Martin Luther King    35

                                     Colin Power                  5

                                     Superman                      3

                                     Spiderman                     2


It is almost embarrassing to present the results of this poll.  For me there are only two legitimate heroes on this list: McCain and King.  Most of us can not differentiate between a hero and a role model or even define what it is that makes a hero.  A hero is simply someone who stands up for what he or she believes and in the process makes a difference that causes a qualitative change in the social fabric.  Real heroes make a difference in our lives. 


I call real heroes those who gave their lives during 9/11. The fireman who entered a building and knowing that any time the building would collapse upon them but still tried to saves lives, these are real heroes in anyone`s book.  They are real heroes, like the soldiers returning from Iraq, and hundreds of other similar professions, all those who remain undaunted and go about their business in an unaffected manner. 


Yesterdays heroes, the knights and warriors, only had to put on their armor now and then in order to display their valor and honor.  But today`s heroes living in an arduous and stressful social climate must present their valor on a daily basis and through different modes.  They do not have to brandish iron and steel, paint their faces, or yell masculine slogans, but must perform greater feats that are not measured by body counts.   


Our greatest battlefields are intellectual, as most of our heroes are anonymous and remain, in the words of Byron, uncoffined, unknelled, and unknown. "