Americans Have No Widely-Admired Contemporary Heroes or Heroines

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Gallup takes a poll that asks Americans for the people they most “admire”. The results depend heavily on who gets the most publicity, that is, who is known, not necessarily who is most admired. As evidence, note that the president wins these polls, year in and year out, even when unpopular. A majority of people does not think of any single other person to name and their votes get fragmented. Thus, Obama wins this year with 16% of the vote, down from 30% last year. There is no hero known widely-enough to beat the president, and so we get the odd result, really quite meaningless, that he is the most admired. The same thing happens for the female gender. The winner there is Hillary Clinton. She got 15%, down from 21%. Either there are no heroes or heroines in America, which is doubtful, or the heroes and heroines are not widely-known and publicized.

The latter is what happens for three reasons. The political figures hog the headlines. On top of that, the media report mostly about disasters, including the personal ones in which known figures in sports, entertainment, religion, business and other areas say or do something that’s socially frowned upon. And third, with such a focus on the negative, there is lacking a focus on the activities that are the most positive.

The poll does one thing. It make one wonder. What kind of person and accomplishment deserves our admiration? Who has helped make the human race more secure? Who has helped make the human race more free? Who has helped make the human race more tolerant? Who has diminished mankind’s aggressions? Who has helped save the most lives, now and in the future? Who has found some new knowledge that promises advances in wealth, material and human? Who has most diminished the scourges of war, pestilence, famine and death? Who has advanced the ethical practices of mankind?

10:29 am on December 30, 2013