The Hero Within You

I rarely watch a football game on TV from start to finish anymore, but this year’s Super Bowl was an exception. I really got caught up in the excitement of the miracle that unfolded before my eyes. Make that, Giant miracle.

But as I watched the multimillionaire Giant players celebrating their Super Bowl victory after the game, for some reason my thoughts drifted to how far removed we Americans are from the day-to-day realities of most of the world’s six billion+ people. With few exceptions, they will never experience the lifestyle of even the poorest Americans, let alone the fame and fortune enjoyed by professional athletes. For a majority of them, in fact, pain, suffering, and fear are a way of life.

A few days after those drifting thoughts of mine, my wife succeeded in dragging me to the movies for the first time in years. It was such an exhilarating experience that I plan on doing it again sometime in the next 10 years or so – provided I can save up enough money to afford both the tickets and the popcorn.

The movie was none other than the latest Rambo (starring, of course, the aging Sylvester Stallone), a grim reminder of the never-ending genocide in Burma (a.k.a. the Union of Myanmar). Part of the movie’s weak plot is based on Rambo’s warnings to a group of well-meaning but naive missionaries to go home… because their efforts in Burma were a waste of time.

Burma ‘s brutal, repressive military regime continues to systematically rape, pillage, torture, and murder the country’s minorities, particularly the Karen and Shan people. These military thugs have been in power since 1962, and I’d have to agree with Old Man Rambo that things aren’t about to change anytime soon.

Burma is also a reminder that when most of us think of the word holocaust, we mistakenly associate it only with the Jews who were exterminated by Germany ‘s Nazi regime during World War II. And when we think of the word slavery, our myopic American view focuses only on pre-Civil War African slaves in the U.S.

Unfortunately, both genocide and slavery are, and always have been, widespread. They have, in fact, been staples of human existence since at least the days of the ancient Greeks, and probably much earlier. Whether it’s Rwanda, Darfur, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, or any one of the nameless towns and villages throughout black Africa that are terrorized by thugs brandishing weapons made in Iran, North Korea, and China, genocide and slavery are alive and well.

I’m not suggesting that the U.S., or any other Western country, should intervene in any of these ongoing human tragedies. Thousands of years of recorded history have clearly demonstrated that well-meaning people don’t have the power to permanently end Third World suffering. We can’t even afford to repair our own infrastructure, let alone save victims of terror and oppression in other countries.

While pondering the continued existence of slavery and genocide throughout the world, I also thought about the current batch of scoundrels running for the highest office in the land. They all have at least one thing in common: They employ their favorite euphemisms (e.g., “change”) to hide their intent to further increase government power over ordinary citizens.

Amazingly, these masters of deceit are revered by millions. Especially by those politically sedated humanoids who cheer wildly and pump signs into the air as their political heroes work them into a frenzy with the same tired platitudes that have been used by politicians throughout recorded history.

The airlines warn us to put on our own oxygen masks first so we will be in a better position to help our children. Good analogy, because as I watch those ecstatic sign holders on TV dutifully playing out their roles as political sheep, it occurs to me that folks who are interested in lessening pain and suffering in the world might do well to first concentrate on what is happening right here in America. Most Americans are so lost that they have come to actually love their servitude.

The war against tyranny is never-ending. We may never become another Burma or Bosnia, but, aside from the varying degrees of violence, slavery by any other name is still slavery. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World painted a pretty stark picture of that reality.

New York Giants Eli Manning, David Tyree (who made the now-famous “helmet catch” on the winning Super Bowl drive), and Michael Strahan are great athletes who excel at playing a great game. And for that, they deserve the applause they receive. But they are not heroes. And no matter how great the game of football is, it is still only a game.

How to be a real hero?

Learn all you can about the concept of liberty. By educating yourself about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the true intent of our founding fathers. And by sharing your knowledge with as many people as possible.

Gradualism and lethargy have worked in tandem over the past hundred years to make the odds against steering America back to its original foundation almost impossible to overcome. Almost – but not completely. To the extent you work at spreading the gospel of liberty to others – explaining to as many people as possible why liberty must be given a higher priority than all other objectives – you are a hero.

By all means, enjoy sports and other forms of entertainment as a respite from the daily cares of life. But, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, keep those things in perspective and don’t allow them to distract you from what is happening in the real world. Allocating a portion of your time and energy resources to help prevent a further slide toward totalitarianism in the U.S. is a good investment.

And the nice thing is that it doesn’t even require a license to become a bona fide hero… yet.

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Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.