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OC HIGH: STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Even Heroes Are Only Human, So Put the Pedestals Away

August 05, 1994|RACHI SHIH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Rachi Shih is a junior at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton

Every kid has a hero. Having one--be it a firefighter, Hillary Clinton or a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger--is a fundamental part of growing up, a basic characteristic of childhood.

Today, kids are given a wide spectrum from which to select their idols. From sports heroes to powerful magnates, they are the object of adoration for kindergartners to adolescents. Some even become lifelong heroes.

Yet, as we place these superstars onto pedestals, we often forget that they are real people too--people who stumble over cracks in the sidewalk and who succumb to the same pressures we do. When we realize this astonishing fact, we feel confused and lost, for our personal icons have fallen from their platforms--an inconceivable event.

We need to understand that is was we who made our heroes who they are. Heroes are ordinary people without their public and support, yet we expect them to be supernatural. Though it is hard, we need to accept that a fallen star is a normal human being and that he or she was always such, even at the height of greatness.

Take O.J. Simpson, now charged with a double homicide. The Simpson case is spurring debates on the legitimacy of our legal system, spousal-abuse awareness and disputes over the Fourth Amendment. We wonder what happened to the American hero. He will always have his loyal fans and supporters; his Heisman trophy will never be taken away; yet nothing can deny the fact that he is a murder suspect.

He is the perfect example of a man turned into myth. News of the case sent us reeling, with most of us in disbelief and with hope in our hearts that he is innocent. He was a paradigm of excellence, which crumbled after we found out he was a person, too.

We all have our ideals, which seem to manifest themselves in our personal heroes. Yet they are the same as we are: human beings. As we recognize this, it becomes the more difficult to see them as idols.

That is why we need to search within ourselves for our heroes.

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