What does Harvey Milk have in common with George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Absolutely nothing! Yet his supporters in California desire to elevate him to the same position that these great men hold in history by honoring him with his own “special” day. What did Harvey Milk ever do that places him on equal footing with Presidents, Veterans and Independence Day? Absolutely nothing! He was a vocal, flamboyant politician with an agenda, able to use his charisma and connection to make legislation happen. How is that much different from any of the politicians today? Perhaps, instead of a Harvey Milk Day in the Public Schools of California, we should make it “fair” for all politicians and call it “Politicians Who Push Their Agenda Day.” If Harvey Milk had not been murdered by a fellow politician, he wouldn’t be getting a day, but because of his death, he has been raised to iconic status for being an effective community leader. What I ask should be the criteria of such an honor? What gives an individual “hero” status deserving of singular attention by a school board, state or nation?
HE’RO, n. [L. heros; Gr. a demigod.]
1. A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms.
2. A great, illustrious or extraordinary person; as a hero in learning. [Little used.]
3. In a poem, or romance, the principal personage, or the person who has the principal share in the transactions related; as Achilles in the Iliad, Ulysses in the Odyssey, and Aeneas in the Aeneid.
4. In pagan mythology, a hero was an illustrious person, mortal indeed, but supposed by the populace to partake of immortality, and after his death to be placed among the gods.
America has lowered the bar for what defines a hero and because of this mis-definition, anyone can claim the title without doing anything for his or her fellow man. Harvey Milk is not a hero, he is not a man distinguished by valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger. He may have served in the armed forces and we thank him for that service, but this does not deem him hero status and worthy of a day named in his honor. He lived a lifestyle that he chose to promote through the political process, rising up through the ranks and fighting for his homosexual community. But that doesn’t elevate him to hero status either, as most politicians fight for what he or she believes in, passionately and persistently. This is the just part of the job and Harvey Milk did his job. Give him a shiny gold star for his star chart and an “Atta boy”, but don’t give him a day of honor!
To place Harvey Milk on the level with great Americans who in fact hold hero status because of their lives, their personal integrity, and character, is to negate the very actions that made these individuals great and worthy of honor. We place hero status on athletes, actors, musicians and politicians, for what? What have most of these people done that can be deemed worthy of honorable mention? Most have gained popularity at best and infamy at worst, without a hint of serving their fellow man. Yet even in following the golden rule, one should never seek recognition, as this should be part of a civil society, not a heroic deed!
The firemen who saved people from the Twin Towers melting frame are heroes, because though it was their job, they continued to work around the clock for the love of their fellow man. Where is their calendar day? Why doesn’t the California School Board have a day for heroic 911 volunteers?
What about the men and women who paid the most extravagant price, serving our country and giving up their lives to protect our rights to even have this conversation? What about Cpl. Jason L. Dunham of Scio, New York, who posthumously received America’s highest military decoration two years and nine months after succumbing to a mortal brain injury while fighting in Iraq? What about the soldiers who gave it all and their families who sacrificed their loved ones for America. Perhaps they could have a day named in their honor for the California Public School system.
The mothers and fathers who care for their cancer-ridden child, living in and out of hospitals and fighting for every second of their beloved child’s life are worthy of hero status. Where is their day California?
What about the heroism of the child who undergoes chemotherapy and radiation, fighting to live, longing to play again? Do not these real life heroes deserve more recognition than Harvey Milk?
The Harvey Milk Day SB 572 is now lying on the desk of Governor Schwarzenegger. He has vetoed similar legislation, but is under much pressure to sign it into law this time. If signed, according to an email that is circulating, SB 572 would pressure every California public school to have an official Harvey Milk Day promoting the homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual agenda to children as young as kindergarten. The bill is written so broadly, that SB 572 would allow schools to determine what it considers suitable commemorative exercises.
State Senator Mark Leno reintroduced the bill and had Sean Penn, the actor who played Harvey Milk, at his side. Leno said that Penn’s Oscar demonstrates to Schwarzenegger that Harvey Milk now has “provincial interest” and therefore the Governor should sign it into law.
I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. Keller, Helen
Let our voices be the tiny pushes of honest Americans speaking loudly to Sacramento and to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger letting him know that Harvey Milk should not have hero status or a day on the calendar. Call Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841 and let your opinion be known.