The 52 special

What They Do

by Lindsey Bahama, Contributing Editorial Correspondent

METROPOLIS, JUNE 5 — 

Sometimes we take heroes for granted. Other times we expect them to solve all our problems. Occasionally, we hold them responsible for all our woes. Still, we always wonder: why do they do what they do? Well, for one of these “super heroes”, some of what motivates him is obvious, but there may be more to it.

Booster Gold, an on-and-off Justice League member, has broadly proclaimed his interest and pursuit of corporate sponsorships. In a world of very well-paid sport stars and celebrities, should we be surprised at this commercialization? Perhaps not. He has still proven his ability to handle dangers beyond the means off normal law enforcement and given us no reason to publicly doubt his intent and bravery.

We live in a world where doing good for its own end has become increasingly rare and we have to ask ourselves: would we have the same confidence in a policeman who proudly proclaimed his allegiance with Homesafe, the leading home safety and alarm system service or a fireman who acted as a huckster for a particular brand of fire extinguishers, like FoamFriendly?

We must ask ourselves, what is the harm in that kind of behavior? Why should we expect better of these normal working people, who risk life and limb for us, earning salaries not much greater than, say, transit workers who, though well-meaning individuals, risk nothing more coming to work in the morning than a surly look from a disgruntled tourist. Then, we wonder, why should we expect more from these oddly-outfitted individuals with, as they say, powers beyond normal men? They face even greater dangers than polic and firefighters. Is it irrational to think they are basically that much different from the rest of us?

Perhaps they are. Perhaps they need to be viewed through a different lens than the rest of us. If the stories are true, many of these superpeople have seen worlds, even dimensions, that the rest of us haven’t even suspected exist. They have dealt with power on a level none of us have been raised to conceive of, let alone know how to deal with.

I make no secret of the complaints I have registered towards these super-powered beings in the past decade. Their actions, or those of whom they’ve fought, have leveled city blocks and in more than one urban landscape that I’ve lived in. Still, my convenience or even the immediate safety of my life or my family’s isn’t always the larger issue nor the greater concern.

We are a nation of people who have grown to expect life to be convenient and complacent, appropriate to our income and desires. Of late, I’ve come to question that. My family and I would not be here today but for the actions of a few virtually unrecognizable gaudily-outfitted individuals who fought for the safety of us, as strangers, at a cost of their own lives. Why did they do that? Not for our gratitude and no visible means of reward. They seemed truly motivated by the most noble of causes-to do the right thing.

What if, and I beg your indulgence for a few moments, what if we did not have a stable environment at all. What if the standard for life was an unending series of attacks and oppression and turmoil? Why should we think things will or should always be calm and controllable? Perhaps we’ve been fortunate and protected for many years from everything but the most outrageous attacks on our way of life, defended only by the beings we think of as heroic intrusions into our lives. Those caped and cowled characters that pop up when outsized danger strikes, but whom we blame for any inconvenience.

Perhaps now is the time to examine what really happens and why. Perhaps the more important issue is not why a “superhero” has corporate endorsements but rather why he’s willing to sacrifice his life for the rest of us at all.

Lindsey Bahama is the Chairwoman of the Council for Citizen Advocacy. Her writing is syndicated in 16 national newspapers, including The Daily Planet. Her opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Planet, its management or owners.

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