Inauguration 2009: Exploring the Hero Myth
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Inauguration 2009: Exploring the Hero Myth

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The idea of hero is old, and treasured in mythology.  The hero metaphor influences our understanding of the world.  This ancient value of hero lends credence to the fierce patriotism of America.  No Congressman will vote against our military, our heroes.

The idea of hero resurfaces in many forms over time.  In the 1930’s the idea of Superman swept the nation.  A man who would fight for truth, justice, and the American way.  A man who is all powerful – but humble and kind.

We speak of the military men of World War II as ‘The Greatest Generation.’  This idea of value in heroics permeates our thought processes.  In the cowboy movies of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood the worst insult one could give would be to call another a coward -‘yellow’ they would say – and the Hero was justified in killing the violator.  But a real hero would only pound the villain into submission – the hero does not have to kill.

Today we have a new hero to discuss.  We have elected a man that has inspired the hopes and dreams of many Americans, and realized the hopes and dreams of many more.  Today we watch, as does the world, as a man defeats the unbeatable foe, and he assumes the office of the President of the United States.  The feeling that we are all experiencing is the reason that we love the idea of a hero.  We need heroes, and we need the hope that they bring to the table.

Check out this video on Greek mythology on heroism.

Thanks to young film makers for this entertaining and informative video.

You can also watch live video coverage of the inauguration at The Washington Post.

There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. I have a real problem with the whole American heroic myth. I recently heard a media person refer to Petraeus as a “hero”. And I wondered, what did Petraeus do that was above and beyond the call of duty, what did he do that was heroic? Put on a uniform? Pursue a military career? Earn a few more bars and stars than another career officer? That is heroic? Are we saying that the pursuit of a military career is more heroic by virtue of the career being military, than the pursuit of a teaching career or a minister?

  2. Written like a true liberal. I see you did not mention the President who has been acclaimed as a hero and has done nothing to rate such a title.

  3. What exactly is a “True Liberal?”

  4. Mr. James, Are you talking about George Bush?

    Does a person have to commit acts of violence to be a hero?

    Dick Cheney and George Bush avoided the draft to escape Vietnam – are they Heroes because they send others to die in their place?

  5. When I think of a liberal I think of Berkeley, Ca. Anti-military. I mentioned President not Former President, I was talking about our current Commander-In-Chief.

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