In CATWS who refused to input the launch codes even with a gun to his head. Give that man a raise.
That guy, right there, is why I love Cap so much. Steve isn’t about the flashy bits of being a hero (Tony). He’s about being the best you can be. He was…
Steve Rogers makes the world a better place just by living in it.
Oh man. Sorry, mandyp12, I just keep writing long replies to stuff you post (procrastinating? me? why would you say that?).
So, yeah. Inspiring other people—ordinary people—to do the right thing is the only way that superheroes make sense.
Heroes can’t be everywhere. They can’t stop every fight. They can’t grab every mugger. They can’t track down every murderer. They just can’t. And if you look at the big picture—well, okay, it made a difference to that guy and that girl and that family, but what about the barista on the corner who didn’t get saved while the hero was busy saving those other people? It’s a few deaths delayed; maybe—in the case of supervillains trying to blow up whole countries or start wars—more than a few deaths delayed, but ultimately heroes can’t stop everything bad happening on their own. (Supernatural touches on this—the emotional cost of feeling like you’re responsible for stopping every bad thing, everywhere, when that’s an impossible task.)
What heroes can do is inspire.
One hero, over the course of a year, might save—let’s say, a person a day. One life a day. Three hundred and sixty five people in a year, over a career that—given the typical heroic life expectancy—might not be more than ten or fifteen years. Call it twenty years: 7,300 lives saved.
But how about the people that hero inspires, if she does her work publicly? Say one percent of the US population (just fer instance) observes that hero’s work, either personally or through the news media, and is inspired. Say, over the same twenty years, that one percent of that one percent ends up in a situation that calls for heroic action, big or small: sticking up for someone bullied, or stepping in to perform CPR, or intervening in an abusive situation, or any case that requires making the right choice and not the easy one, and that one percent chooses to act as their hero would.
That’s over 30,000 heroic acts.
We love superheroes. But it’s ordinary people who have the real power when it comes to changing the world for the better.
I’m always okay with long replies.
Actually, what’s interesting—when that scene played, you know what I thought?
I thought of the Dauntless motto.
“We believe that cowardice is to blame for the world’s injustices. We believe that peace is hard-won, that sometimes it is necessary to fight for peace. But more than that: We believe that justice is more important than peace. We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions. We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another. We believe in acknowledging fear and the extent to which it rules us. We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity. We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves. We believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them. We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction because we believe in action. We do not believe in living comfortable lives. We do not believe that silence is useful. We do not believe in good manners. We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands. We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence. We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by. We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.” (emphasis mine)
When I was watching the scene, I thought to myself, “I believe in ordinary acts of bravery.”
I’ve never been very brave. I’d like to think I would have done the same in that situation though every personality test will tell you I’m the farthest thing from a Gryffindor or Dauntless. But you know what—Steve Rogers, fictional as he may be, he inspires me to be brave.
And I think that inspiration is the main importance of fictional heroes. They’re not actually saving real people, but they can inspire real people to be brave.