How To Improve America — National Hitch-hiking Week!
— Imagine a week where our heroes hitch-hike all across America!
[This was originally written as a Facebook Note on March 30, 2017 — I’ve changed it around a bit]
So what’s all the hoopla ‘bout Americans and hero-worshiping? Whose your hero? Why you like ‘em? Would they like you? You wanna have a beer with ‘em? And are they not also someone else’s hero? How do we meaningfully share heroes? And what could it possibly be like when you’re the 11th child in line and someone like Babe Ruth only signs 10 autographs? Heroes can hurt too!
What makes a hero: Ideas? Image? Performance? Kindness? An autograph? A crying out for change? A spiritual connection? Or is it our media? What of our heroes who fought and died in war? And what of they who created reasons and built tools for war? Is it wise to create wars in order to make heroes?
Masters of War, by Bob Dylan; covered by Michael Weddle
Hero worshiping is a mixed bag of knacks, reasons and choices. But nearly all of us, somehow, behold to the art of worshiping someone. Some, myself included, will chortle, “I reject hero-worshiping!” But, deep down, we know this is not true. Still, we’ve got them!
For example, I like what Bernie Sanders accomplished, what he wants for others and what I think he can accomplish. His precept of each living for the other, I deeply admire. I also like The Silver Surfer. He saves world! Fantasy meeting reality holds no boundaries when it comes to hero-worshiping!
The Silver Surfer, by Michael Weddle
Like it or not, we’ve all got heroes. We think we know them and understand their meaning. Often we try to become like them. How many have lived like Jesus since the day he was crucified? How many have tried?
Godlike or not, we cherish the demeanor of our heroes and hold them to the highest pedestals of perceived reality. What effect does this have upon them? Do our heroes ever hide? Does this cloak of fame and fortune sheathe them from embracing our own small realities? Is it a matter of a big fish swimming lonely in a large pond or many fish swimming joyfully in a small pond enjoying the gift of others? What’s the standard?
This brings us to the aging, dying anarchist philosopher’s perpetual murmur in their lonely moment: “Must there be a standard?” Hopefully, always, a youthful replacement will appear with a response, claiming: “Yes, a standard for goodness!” These days, however, it’s very hard for a philosopher to become a hero, never mind a young one.
Heroes, by David Bowie
Make America Happy Again — Proclaim National Hitch-Hiker Week!
America, intrinsically, is a hero-worshiping society. There are literally tens of thousands of celebrity heroes in the hearts and beliefs of Americans. When it comes to heroes, indeed the medium becomes the message (see Marshall McLuhan). And some of them, no matter what, we will never let go …
… much like in the proverbial Marvel Comic What-If Series when it comes to Captain America!
Imagine a week where our heroes from Hollywood, Woodstock or Washington DC mustered courage, adventure and a true desire to actually meet you. What if they stashed a bank card with a handful of cash in pocket, pulled together a hobo stick of needed items, perhaps a musical instrument … and what if they ventured out across the country, from all different starting points, hitch-hiking here and there? Of course, you’d be hitch-hiking also! The police would be trained to disobey hitch-hiking laws and ordinances for a whole week — maybe forever!
Save gas, save the environment and share in the goodness of our own humanity!
From LA to Vegas … Boston to Bangor … New York to DC … Chicago to San Antonio … Atlanta to Miami … through the Black Mountains, the Great Lakes, the side roads of Mississippi. Visit Yellowstone or Indian reservations and the redwood forests. Try Seattle to Anchorage or maybe back and forth a few times on Route 80 and Route 66. So many places to go, so many kinds of people to get to know! Celebrities everywhere, everybody a hero!
Hang out with your hitchhiking heroes! Hitch-hike with them, pick ’em up and give ’em a ride, maybe buy ‘em a meal at a truck stop! Perhaps they’d join you at your local pub or the small-town world famous ham and egg diner! Be kind. Offer them a spare room if you got one, at least offer your couch!
From this experience we can learn to treat everybody as a hero — even though some may not be so at all. Perhaps the experience would cause us to become children again. Maybe all of us will finally learn really how to share and keep sharing!!!
After your encounters, when you wave goodbye, you’ll know you’ve met and experienced life with your heroes. That they are real and you got to share in their lives. In return, you will know you’ll no longer need live in fear. Your hero will have helped to proved this. Yes, America needs real and true heroes, not imaginary ones.
Ultimately, whether from an old or young philosopher, there is but one standard: You are your own hero so act accordingly!
[POSTSCRIPT: Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best ideas!]