I've written the following as a part of Disability Carnival # 31. The topic/theme of the carnival is "Superman" and will be up on Valentine's day at wheelchairprincess.com
It seems to me that there is danger in proclamations declaring individuals as being extraordinary people while they’re still alive. It has to do with ego and basic psychology. It’s kinda like; “You’ve arrived! There’s nothing more you need to do”.
I’ve seen it before; people being touted as “champions” of a particular cause. In my state they actually have a title known as a “healthcare hero” for someone who has done something to move the system to do what it should have done in the first place. I wonder if the idea is to divert people’s attention away from the failed system. Keep the masses at bay, and let them try to become the next hero. I’ve also noted that these heroes sometimes become complacent following their crowning achievement.
The celebration of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther Jr.’s birthday is a prime example of what I mean. I don’t know what that’s like in the community where you live, but in Oregon it’s a day of glad handing and back patting to the extreme. There’s very little discussion regarding his bucking the system or calling people out when there was just cause. It’s all about congratulatory remarks about how wonderful select individuals are. Dr. King was never very big on accolades himself...
As for Superman himself; I’ve heard that the story is an analogy, so I’ll go with that idea with a bit of a twist. Here’s my take on it:
We all have green Kryptonite inside of us. Another word for it is “ego”. In the same way green Kryptonite weakens Superman, and can kill him if exposed to enough of it, so can ego make us impotent and take away our powers when out of balance. I think it best to stay away from the beaming admiration of onlookers who inflate the ego, and concentrate instead on the work that lies ahead.