Our culture is obsessed with heroes. From superheroes we read about in comic books or see in movies, to our adoration of military veterans and frontline workers during this pandemic, we can’t get enough heroes. At times it feels like our idolatry of heroes stems from a desire to be saved, from an attitude of either “I’m not strong enough to be the ‘hero'” or “I am unwilling to make the sacrifices of a ‘hero.'” Both are reasonable in their own right, but my response to these would be, Who says? and, Why not?
At the conference last month, someone said, “We don’t need more heroes, we need better system.” And that is 100% correct. If our systems were adequately taking care of people, especially the most vulnerable we wouldn’t need heroes. If our systems prioritized safety and wellbeing over revenue and profit we wouldn’t need heroes. But thank God we do have heroes to carry the burdens of society so I can continue to live my relatively carefree lifestyle.
So let’s toast to them and make them banners and give them a day where we celebrate them and tell our kids to aspire to be like them. Anything but create better systems to support them and to make them not have to be the safety nets for all of society, especially when things go to shit, because to do so means placing some of that burden on me, which simply will not do.