I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an "honest man." -- George Washington

My heroes

Vote Nader What do I value?

Life is hard for all of us. It doesn't let up. We each do the best we can. I respect one who works, who does his best to make his life something he's proud of, who works to make it better not by stealing from others, diminishing others, or bullying others but through his own effort and accomplishment. There are many such people trying to do a good job, take care of themselves and their friends and family, and leave the world better than they found it. Along the way they encourage others to do the same. I enjoy living in a world with those people, seeing what they accomplish, and accomplishing what I can along side them. That's what, for me, is worthy of praise and celebration.

My goal here is to make a list of the people I admire the most, those who live or lived their lives in special, wonderful ways. So far, I seem to be coming up with people who are very political - left wing human rights type political. That's a surprise to me. The other group that belongs here is quite a few of my personal friends. It seems that I can't do that even though I feel so privileged to know these people. Famous people give up their privacy (in a way), and I have done that too by writing these pages, but my friends have not.

Each name is a link to a website about the person.
The lines below the name explain why the person is my hero.
Rosa Parks
She valued her dignity above her safety. Rosa Parks is special because she took a stand as an ordinary person. She was not famous, nobody who could protect her was watching, she was at the low end of the power structure. It was unlikely to turn out well for her. I can only imagine that she did it anyway, just because it was right for her at the time. Now she's famous and lived a public life after that and did it well, but it's that moment when she refused to do what was expected that makes her my hero.
Martin Luther King
He took on the job that was there in front of him. Some of us get to decide what to do more or less abstractly, then plan, go to school, look for a job in the field, etc. I suppose he thought he was one of those - decided to be a minister and did all that stuff. "Civil rights leader" just showed up in front of him. He could have turned that job down and nobody would have noticed. But he stepped into it and found in himself what was needed to do the job that he never asked for or expected to do. Thats what makes him special to me.
Mahatma Gandhi
Another man who just did what there was to do. He seemed to have no personal desires - or should I say no private interests. He did seem to have one personal desire - the good of the people around him. I say it that way because it was so personal to him. How could he be so "single minded" for so long?
Woody Guthrie
I read that he wrote 5,000 songs! - well, I hear estimates as high as 10,000 but the number I see most is 1,000 songs. How could anybody do that? Woody and the songs he wrote celebrated people and the good works they do. He loved America - to him it stood for freedom and greatness. He was not embarrassed to praise it nor was he hesitant to speak out when it failed to meet his high standards. For this he managed to get on the list of subversives compiled by the House Un-American Activities Committee. For a quick way to get a sense of what Woody was up to, pick here to read the words of his most famous song.
Pete Seeger
Yes, this goes with the previous one. These two were good friends, did much good work together, and still are quite different in many ways. Pete wrote songs we all know such as "We shall Overcome" and "If I had a Hammer". What brings me back again and again to admiring Pete is his persistent, year after year, working with people to make a better world whenever he sees something that needs doing. He has been a leader for democracy, workers rights, ecology, peace, civil rights. One consequence of this was that he was summoned by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955. He was one of a very few of those called before that committee who did not use the Fifth Amendment for protection. Here are a few things he told the committee. Now he's older than most of us expect to ever be and still working hard for all of us.
Buckminster Fuller
Here was man with a full understanding of the complexity and power of our developing technologies and a vision for a world shared and enjoyed by all its population. He saw the damage we could do and the good we could do and had confidence that we would see both and choose a path leading to peace and abundance. He spent his life working at helping us along the way.

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