First Responders as Heroes?Sunday, September 11, 2011
I had a brief conversation with a friend of mine yesterday, in anticipation of the 9/11 worship that was already being rolled out by the tediously repetitious media machine all week long. I am swearing off all media today because I cannot stand this endless attention to 9/11 and the persistent glorification of police and fire and EMT, and whatever other state-employed professionals are deemed to be heroes because they represent the state as our rescuer, benefactor, and savior.
First, I absolutely dislike the term “first responder” because it is a term of veneration with no basis other than these folks are employed by the state in hallowed roles. My friend, who is a retired police officer, mentioned he had been out on some police and fire discussion boards making the unpopular argument that police officers, firemen, and all other so-called first responders, are not heroes. We were in agreement that they are not heroes just because they do their job, whatever that job entails. They are not heroes because they may have some element of danger in their work – just like an accountant who balances the book is not a hero, and a lumberjack who drops a tree is not a hero. Yet each time a first responder dies, the local – and sometimes national – media reminds us over and over of the passing individual’s greatness and service to his country. Are there not a lot of great accountants and lumberjacks who pass on as well?
My deceased father, a career firefighter, also despised the fixation with propping up police and fire personnel as the demigods of public security and welfare. He disliked the media exaltation and he refused to attend a mass funeral of one of his own with lines of fire trucks and police cars, with lights ablaze, blocking and parading down the streets to broadcast that a hero has passed. He chose to quietly visit the funeral parlor instead.
Why are Americans so consumed by all of this show and symbolism without substance? Because people are perpetually brainwashed with feelgoodism, and they accept it at its face value. It is easier to relate to the popular and prevailing position rather than create their own thoughts. These folks are taught that to declare an unpopular and politically incorrect opinion that so obviously goes against the grain falls into the “either you’re with us or you are against us” mentality. And no one wants to be standing on his own as opposed to being one of the “united we stand.”