Social media offers a broad range of opinions about the types of people that many Americans choose as their heroes. Sports figures and entertainment idols are the first categories of people that come to mind when we debate which individuals to put on pedestals and which to put at ground level. But sports and entertainment can best be described as the snack food of life, something we enjoy at a visceral level that should not be a source of essential sustenance or focus.
Traditionally sports heroes and performing artists came from our midst and suffered, achieved, and worshiped just as their admiring fans did. Ted Williams, Clark Gable, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Louis, Jimmy Stewart, and myriad others served in World War II. They deserve to be admired and honored for their service like all veterans.
But here’s our challenge: In contrast today’s professional athletes and entertainers come across as fools and scoundrels, bent on degrading the traditions and values that many Americans hold sacred. Calling people like me, who believe in our founding principles, traditions, and history, names like “racist, homophobe, misogynistic, and xenophobic” only serves to create doubt about the ability of these “elites.”
If you can’t articulate an idea by debating the merits of that idea, you appear to be nothing but an ideologue regurgitating propaganda. And degrading those who disagree with you only emphasizes that weakness. “Shut up and dribble” was a statement that sent the elite media and professional sports folks over the top when Laura Ingraham said it to LeBron James. The loud screamers of social media and media declared her a loser in that confrontation, the average citizen nodded in agreement but sat silent, afraid to be “canceled” by the totalitarian Left.
That is just it: It isn’t brave, heroic, or right to say things you know the elites, the media, and the rich will agree with; the hero is the contrarian who demands that ideas be examined, or who tells this group or that that they don’t agree with their agenda or ideas. In a free society, it is not heroic to demand from others absolute obedience to your thoughts.
The simple economics of false heroes is becoming obvious. Professional sports franchises and even Olympians are discovering their anti-American, anti-police, anti-everything stance has dire financial consequences as viewership has declined dramatically since Colin Kaepernick gained fame as a kneeler instead of a quarterback.
If the sports world is “woke” in the extreme, the entertainment world has become a hotbed of Leftist whining millionaires whose exclamations and demands border on lunacy. Anti-police lies and absurdities are spoken as often as the usual platitudes of modern radicals about “equity,” “democracy,” and “community.” None of this means what you think it does anymore. And so I assert that being part of a singularly anti-American mob isn’t heroic, admirable, or courageous.
Serving, protecting, believing in your mission, and striving are all characteristics of real heroes, the ones who truly deserve the adoration, respect, and support of the “the community.”
People ask me how anyone does police work anymore in this day and age of anti-police dogma, and I simply say that there are those who will not be stopped from protecting and serving, who care about their neighbors, and who love the adventure. These are the true, day-to-day, heroes.
We rightly admire our nurses, the teachers (who truly care about our children), the firefighters, veterans, the military, and during times of crisis as in the pandemic, the truckers, clerks, stockers, and others who allowed our lives to continue relatively safely. But none of these were as maligned or hunted as law enforcement over the last year. During the pandemic with officers dying from COVID at alarming, the men and women who wear badges went to work knowing there was little sympathy or care for them from the elites. What insults would society’s chattering class throw at them today? Put a cop killer on a mural in front of the Police Department? ”Sure!,” said the Palo Alto, California ruling class. Every day our true heroes went to work despised by many of the people they serve, and I want to proclaim here and now that I am amazed at and proud of today’s crime fighters, still fighting for safe communities, still caring, and still serving. So many of my peers are retired and, in their hearts, wish they could turn on the lights and come to the aid of these modern warriors, serving, protecting, caring, suffering, and sometimes dying.
I hope you read this thoughtfully and then forward it to your friends, family, and leaders and ask them to acknowledge this simple truth: the heroic is truly a day-to-day way of living for those who serve and protect. Thanks to those of you that continue to do this in spite of all the challenges you face.
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of “JD Buck Savage.” You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.