by athletes, presidents, sports anchors and so on, ali is being presented as a hero and an example for us all, specifically in virtue of his resistance to the draft. he changed us, showed us what we could be, etc. but let me ask you this: how many americans, in any walk of life, have followed that example, or are capable of following that example, or have tried, or would not capitulate under far less trying circumstances or at far less cost or with far less incentive? if we are not capable - and i would say that barack obama among many others is not - then i think we should shut up about that part, or simply say that in our actual lives he is an example of what not to do, or what we would advise people such as our children not to do. i think we should feel attacked by that example, upbraided, shamed. that he is a hero shows that we are cowards. he may be an example to someone somewhere, but he is not our example.
let me ask you even this: for what principle, or for what people, would you risk your health insurance? reflect and answer that to yourself as frankly as you can. alright then, who are your actual heroes? i fear that, on reflection, it will be clear that your actual heroes are successful bureaucrats. we are pretending to live with commitments and to admire courage, but these are fictions.