A Harris Interactive Online poll, conducted from January 12-January 19, 2009, asked Americans whom they admired enough to call their number 1 hero. 2,634 Americans over 18 years old were surveyed. They were not shown or read a list of names to choose from and it was not a multiple choice survey. Their answers were to be spontaneous and unlimited.
Who did the majority of the respondents say was their single greatest hero?
You guessed it, President Obama. But who was number two, you ask?
Jesus came in at number 1 in the same survey conducted in 2001, but Obama wasn’t widely known at that time, so He faced lesser competition in George W. Bush, et. al. At number 2 in the 2001 poll was Martin Luther King, followed by Colin Powell, JFK and Mother Teresa. Think of the diversity we admired even then! After the Lord, we picked two African-Americans (without Obama telling us to), a womanizer and a woman!
This time around, Obama and Jesus were followed by Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan and- surprise!- George W. Bush. Abraham Lincoln was sixth, while JFK fell to eighth place and Mother Teresa to tenth. Where was George Washington, among others?
Asked to explain their choices, the vast majority of those surveyed claimed to use the following criteria:
*Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences (89%)
*Not giving up until the goal is accomplished (83%)
*Doing more than what others expect (82%)
*Overcoming adversity (81%)
*Staying level-headed in a crisis (81%)
Fine traits and ‘yard-sticks of character’ all. I must say, however, as accomplished as the President is, I think you’d have to give the edge to Jesus at least as far as ‘overcoming adversity’ and ‘doing more than what others expect.’ Am I right? I mean, I know there is subjectivity in most things, but being an African-American in the U.S. doesn’t equate to being nailed to a cross. Obama did go from ‘community organizer’ to President of the United States, after all. Jesus rose from the dead! That should be a slam-dunk for the Lord. Come on, if Jesus can’t beat out Obama on these criteria something is seriously awry.
What would be the result of that same survey today, I wonder? I’m guessing that the President might have dropped a few notches, but, then again, maybe not. It is not just our values that have changed over the years. Our desire and ability to utilize logic and reason, to compare and contrast and evaluate… is less every day.
What’s really scary is to think of the results of that same survey conducted ten years from now. The way things have trended over the past few decades, I’m guessing it might look something like this:
*Madonna (the singer)