The problem with heroes

They are human; ergo, they are imperfect.

Last week, my cousin Janet and I found ourselves talking about Woodrow Wilson who, when we studied American history, was a political and intellectual hero to many people, and our dismay to learn recently that he was a racist.

We came to a pretty rational conclusion: you can keep your heroes but you should never worship them, because not one of them, no matter how genuinely heroic, will be worthy of worship.

I am disheartened by the Eric Schneiderman news and resignation. Didn’t I just mention him as a standout figure in the Democratic AGs group defending out civil rights and values against Trump?

Yeah, I did. Great timing.

We’ve lost Schneiderman’s aggressive advocacy for everything I believe in. But I do not believe in any sort of god and therefore do not worship anyone. I don’t think I ever have. I’ve had my social and political heroes, among them Martin Luther King, FDR, Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov, but never trusted to their perfection, so was able to absorb their human failings when they popped up. Which, almost inevitably, they did.

So after hearing Schneiderman resigned — so quickly — and saying, “Oh shit!”, while simultaneously accepting that the allegations sound valid and repellent, I found myself sitting on my couch thinking, “OK, who’s around who can take over the office, its purpose and the work Schneiderman launched?”

The office will go on even without Schneiderman.



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