By Brian Wojtalewicz
Originally posted in The Appleton Press on February 25, 2014.
Ralph Nader, one of American’s true heroes, recently wrote in his column that America should have an annual Activist Awards Gala, similar to the Academy Awards night. Great idea. I have been amused for years at how millions of Americans idolize Hollywood actors just because of their appearances in “make believe”—the movies. Most laughable for me is how many Americans believe actor John Wayne is a real hero, when he did absolutely nothing to earn such a claim. A good actor? Perhaps. But name me a single thing he did that was actually heroic?
Look at the contrast between Erin Brockovich and actress Julia Roberts. Ms. Roberts is internationally famous, and has been paid multiple millions for acting. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in playing the role of the real life Erin Brockovich, who performed truly heroic work exposing the poisoning of ground water by Pacific Gas & Electric that ruined the health and killed some of her fellow California citizens. So which one has received more fame, acclaim and immensely more income? Fortunately, Ms. Brockovich has continued her advocacy against poisoning polluters around the USA since the movie made her briefly famous.
This nation has produced scores of true heroes who saw injustice, corruption or poisoning of our waters or air, and rose up to fight it. They often have endured ridicule, loneliness, career destruction, financial deprivation or even ruin in their quests for justice or community safety. They deserve honor, if not fame, far more than many who are receiving it.