On Monday the nation observed The Reverand Dr. Martin Luther Kings Jr. 's birthday. Doctor King is a national treasure, one of the worlds greatest humanitarians, and a hero in every sense of the word. When I speak to those who remember and or lived during that time, I am told that they wondered who would take up the mantle, fight for the cause and be the next Dr. King. Of course he was, is, and always will be an irreplaceable icon, I have often pondered this question myself. Who will be the next hero? Will there be another hero?
Many have said the The Reverand Al Sharpton is our new civil rights leader. But how can a man lead if most of the people that he fights for won't follow. My generation, generation X, has not suffered enough to follow a flawed man with excellent intentions. Especially given the fact that we live in a world where each and every one of those flaws is magnified, dissected, and sensationalized in a constant stream of media.
While there is still police brutality, high unemoyment, and discrimination to contend with, we can eat lunch anywhere we please, and sit in any seat in any restaurant that we choose. We can occupy any seat on any bus in America without having to spark a movement to do so. How many of us have had crosses burned on our lawns, seen our friends, and neighbors hung in trees or have been chased by the Ku Klux Klan? We have not been exposed to the same injustices or indignities as our parents or Grandparents have.
I know what you're thinking, and yes thousands of people engaged in peaceful protests all across the country after the vicious murder of Eric Garner. But thousands more stayed home and watched the protests on TV.
We have become an apathetic society prone to short fits of outrage that are never sustained because of our short attention spans and lack of focus. The vast majority of us have been given everything and have never had to fight for anything. So we don't have to. When I say no more heroes, it is not a declaration but an observation. Heroes are made, not born, and if the circumstances don't stir the conscious enough, and inspire individuals to take a heroic course of action, the notion of a hero as we know it becomes nothing more than a ancient history.