I need a break. How about you? I said from the beginning that I would share a bit of who I am from time to time. Sometimes I share a bit of myself because I see a common thread that the kid in all of us can relate.
Like most kids I watched and loved Saturday Morning Cartoons! As a kid I naturally gravitated toward the Super Heroes. As of late, I have found myself with more time on my hands than I am used to and that has prompted the writing again, as well afforded me time and if I am truthful, too much time to reflect on my life. But as we reflect sometimes see a truth from a different perspective. And it was in one of those moments, I realized I gravitated toward them because there were a lot of times as a kid, I needed a real super hero. To this day I love Super-Heroes!. Not so much the ones of today but the ones I grew up with.
1960’s-80’s Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, right down to the cartoons. Super Friends!
But did you ever stop and wonder what would provoke a man to dream up such wonderful and reflective works of fantasy?
Back then, our heroes were just that. Heroes, both real and imagined! Our fantasy heroes had grandiose powers. They could do things no mortal man could do. They could fly, had super strength, super vision, could understand and talk to the animals.
Who among us doesn’t wish they could communicate with animals? Some days, it might be a step up in interaction, if you know what I mean. I smile, as I watch mine watch tv. He loves flipper, but that is another story, maybe, we will get there some day. Yet, he is about the conversation level I need some days.
Yet grand powers were just half of who those super heroes where, as a character. There other power is one that many of us may have mocked but reflection is powerful. What kept ordinary people safe was equally two-fold. This side also built on a grand platform of the greatness of the very real heart of those who served.
Superman, a creation during hard times and a world at war. He was a hero among heroes, and he was not just ours but the worlds. For the world though, "we were" superman. Our nation impassioned by honor to do the right thing. To protect the innocent, to uphold the dignity of life. To be humane to everyone regardless, being the good neighbor or friend. The moral character of the cartoon character was a reflection of the real-life heroes.
And so too the rest of our super heroes.
Our fantasy heroes protected our fictional paradise when the threat to disrupt our peace availed. Just like our real-life heroes protect our actual piece of paradise.
But here’s the rub. How often did we or someone we know mock the human character of goodness? I had as did several of my friends as well but when we think about it, it is that very same goodness people depend on. As much as it was the superpower that saved the people it was more so the goodness of the hero. Villains brought poison and darkness, but it was the goodness of the hero that brought light. Because without goodness is not the hero just a villain?
And it’s true, think about the goodness of folks many years your senior. The hero’s moral character reflects his human benefactor because they were the same. In other words, the good and honorable people all around the creator of these works of fantasy were represented in the heroes. The same can be said for the villains. It is, as it has always been the epic battle of good and evil.
When our fantasy heroes where created, as a nation we cared for each other. We fought for each other. We rejoiced with each other and mourned with each other. That is why we were the heroes of the stories without superpowers.
I think that there are things as a nation we used to hold dear at a deeper level that compelled us to be that kind of hero. On another I think that we have lost a lot of hope, and with that charity has taken a hit because compassion and love for our fellow man is in a downward spiral. And on that sad note, I think that as we have let these traits slide, they somehow have now become a burdensome taskmaster.
Now as a kid, I dared not ask my dad who his super hero was. He wasn’t the kind of man to have one or have much patience with me “wasting my time” watching them. But thankfully as a dad myself, I shared my heroes with my kids. And the day came when they would ask me which super hero was my favorite.
As a kid and today I like them all. But there was always something about green lantern. He was cool and the ring, that's what I'm talking about.
No matter your favorite, let me ask you this.
Why did our heroes get so dark and cynical?
Maybe the more accurate question is when and why did we?
And maybe that is it, they are dark because we are dark?
The point is we are rapidly losing the influence of the older generations that inspired our fantasy heroes. The heroes we have today if they are truly a reflection of who we are what will be left to our children and grandchildren?
In my day, the super heroes of fantasy never judged the unrighteous or even those suspected. They simply thwarted the evil that men do. And left punishment to the authorities. In the end they helped everyone where they could.
Today though the heroes will let no unjustness go unpunished. They are judge, jury, and executioner.
Could the irony be more apparent?
As we read the news, wow, I am old., never mind. As we study, no can't say that I got it. As we take the news in via our devices, we can see a reflection of the times in which we live by the fantasy heroes that entertain our nights. Though the dynamic has become twisted.
Day in and day out we see crimes go unpunished and even rewarded. It seems the norm has become punishment for the victim, glory for the criminal, and no justice or peace in the end.
The darkness of our fantasy heroes today come from that same reflection! They take justice into their hands because the system is broken and those who run the system have abandon the high ground on which they once stood.
Have we have just become to bored with the responsibility of being everyday heroes?
And it's hard to blame anyone for becoming so cynical when deep down we recognize we aren't what we should be. Reflection is enlightening but what the light reveals sometimes is not what we expect. Maybe the hardest truth for us all is that when we tolerate evil, evil doesn’t tolerate us, it overtakes us. We have come to tolerate it in our super heroes, our entertainers, our leaders, and worst of all in ourselves.
One last thing. I hope for the sake of all our children we can get back to that place where the greatness and honor of our former days shine bright again.
From Where the Eagle Soars