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Sayles: Heroes drawn, quartered and gutted
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Sayles: Heroes drawn, quartered and gutted

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COVID-19 has expanded my reading options and opportunities and that enticed me with escapism to think about things that would not have come to mind prior to the pandemic. 

I often find myself standing in checkout lines, losing track of time while reading the tabloid headlines about things I should not care about emblazoned and splashed on front pages of rags I would never buy.

My repertoire of subject matter, worthy of thought has grown exponentially as I opened my synapses to the tabloid experience.  Each outrageous claim leads to another and before long synchronicity ties everything together, making total sense.

Today I read that John Wayne was a despicable racist and is going to lose his Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Saint Mother Theresa embezzled donations meant for feeding the poor and sent the money to the Vatican. Industrialist Henry Ford was a practicing Anti-Semite. 

Aviator Charles Lindberg was a supporter of not only Eugenics, but also Adolph Hitler. Inventor Thomas Alva Edison used his wealth to defame and crush his detractors and competitors,

President Woodrow Wilson was a Ku Klux Klan level racist.  Theodore Roosevelt once said in a speech, "I do not believe that the only good Indian is a dead Indian, but 9 out of 10 would be about right."  

President John F. Kennedy was a philandering drug addict. As was Mahatma Gandhi, and Charlie Chaplin.

At some hard to pinpoint moment, Americans, all Americans, regardless of race, gender, creed, predisposition or affiliation, have drawn, quartered and gutted each others' personal heroes, with unrelenting malice and forethought.

Heroes are an endangered species and nearing virtual extinction.

By demanding heroes be of super human perfection, we have nullified positive, inspirational, spiritual and teachable legacy. 

While I do not abide by Abraham Lincoln's decision to push through a bill that required the US Treasury to pay American Black slaves for voluntary repatriation costs to Africa via Liberia, he is nonetheless revered by Americans, myself included, and also citizens of the world for signing the Emancipation Proclamation 4 weeks later in 1863.

The problem created by our citizens engaging daily in defaming other Americans' heroes may well be part semantics but is mostly ideological.

It is also racial.

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There is a Grand Canyon wide gap between "Hero" and "Heroic Actions in Desperate Moments."  Who would tear down the Jefferson Memorial, forgetting the eloquence of The Declaration of Independence and only remembering him as an 18th Century slaveholder?

Imperfect Americans whom yet delivered heroic and humanitarian life changing benchmark moments throughout our national timeline cannot and will not be truthfully viewed and measured by comparisons to a perfect Jesus Christ or God Almighty Himself.

There are no untoppled flesh and blood heroes left. 

Someone somewhere has or will find something to declare other peoples' heroes unworthy and irredeemable.

We demonize each other and we demonize each other's heroes.  We demoralize one another for nothing more than to get a leg up in everyday life at the expense of others.

The conjuncture currently taking place nightly in Seattle, and Portland, and Chicago is characterized by the clear collapse of social cohesion necessary for any nation to survive.

It is a factual assessment determining if people are suffering because they are trapped within a system of social prejudice.  But that is not the only reason economic inequality occurs. 

Denial of personal responsibility plays a deep role for all people in generational poverty regardless of race.   

Revolution occurs, right or wrong because, vocal anarchical factions, encouraged , pushed and funded by some sort of outside source, feel that change in their favor has not been swift enough nor expansive enough to afford them a true seat at the table of progressive and emancipating policy decisions.

Within revolutions, heroic actions are seen.  A future someone's hero will emerge only to be drawn, quartered and gutted for being imperfectly human, while delivering heroic action in a time of crises.

There is a rainbow and a silver lining arching over this very deep well of ongoing debate.

92 percent of American Kids, ages 8 to 14, declare that Moms, Dads, Grandpas and Grandmas, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and teachers are heroes in their lives, imperfect humans one and all.

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Just when I was starting to get pretty good at navigating the landmines of my seemingly endless faux pas with the misunderstood and often mali…

JW Sayles is a Mason City resident and maybe Iowa’s own Samuel Clemens in the making? You be the judge. Opinions are his own.

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