Jim Hofmann

Heroes play an important role in our history. Before designating someone a hero, or as an ideal, consider their goals and their actions. How do we decide who is a hero?

February was Black History Month. March is Women’s History Month. Heroes among those two groups are to be recognized for their heroism in expanding the God-given rights for their group in a manner that will be honored and respected by all Americans.

Whether we live or die as a free nation depends on which principles we choose to be our guide. All heroes have feet of clay. All heroes are products of their time. Despite the norms of their time, those who founded America marked the high-water mark of freedom and justice for all human beings everywhere when they wrote our Declaration of Independence and established our Constitution.

If our ideals are based on the unalienable rights of all people to live free, we have a chance to correct what has gone wrong and make it right by the free will of a people who believe we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Over the past few decades, those ideals have been ravaged by those who believe the answer to the challenges before us can be solved by the state. For a moment, consider the ideals of America described above to the great hero of the left, Vladimir Lenin, the first dictator of the communist Soviet Union.

Lenin said, “It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed”; “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism”; “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience…”; “The goal of socialism is communism”; “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” The above quotes of Lenin are from Brainy Quote. In America, we hold certain truths to be self-evident. Under repressive communist/fascist rule, the importance of lying to the people cannot be overstated.

I have lived through the distortions of the left in its effort to “fundamentally change America.” Fortunately, after decades of attacking the ideals and freedoms that make America the high point of civilized freedom, we remain free. Which side you choose as a source of freedom and justice for all will be impacted by who your heroes are.

Consider two possible heroes for Americans to emulate. Both are African-American women. Both women were active during the Civil Rights Era and beyond. Referring to the parameters for heroism above, you decide which one is a hero for all of us.

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a woman of tremendous courage. In the Jim Crow Era of the South, she – on a bus ride home from work – was told she was sitting too close to the front of the bus and had to move to the back. She refused. Put yourself in her position. What would you have done? Everything was against her: history, the law, the culture, you name it. Rosa Parks stood, or should I say, sat her ground. Again, what would you have done?

She was arrested, vilified, her life was threatened and she was put in jail. That small peaceful act of defiance in the face of bigotry led to a boycott that coalesced the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks forced Americans to look at themselves in the mirror. That single act by one black woman changed American history. Americans had to live up to their ideals and beliefs. Rosa Parks went on to continue to support civil rights.

Neil Armstrong stood on the moon and declared it was one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. Rosa Parks sat on a bus taking up one small seat but she took one giant leap for freedom for all, black, brown and white. I believe Rosa Parks believed in the ideals upon which America was founded and motivated all fair-minded Americans to put those ideals into practice.

Angela Davis

Most of my memories of Angela Davis relate to her grossly anti-American positions and violent actions. Davis fit in well with her contemporaries in the SDS, SNCC and the “Burn Baby Burn” groups. She joined the Che-Lumumba branch of the Communist Party USA and became a professor of Marxism.

She became a darling of the radical left; she still is. During the 1960s, she was one of the leaders of the Communist Party USA. She purchased the weapons used by a group to take over a Marin County courtroom that resulted in the deaths of four people. She was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder. She was acquitted.

In 1979, Davis was in Soviet Russia to receive the Lenin Peace Prize. She praised the “Glorious name of Lenin.” Refer to Lenin quotes above. How glorious do they seem to you?

In January 2017, the still-militant America-hating Davis was a co-chair of the women’s march on Washington. Libertarian journalist Cathy Young wrote of Davis, “Her long record of support for political violence in the U.S. and (support of) the worst human rights abuses abroad undermined the march.”

Choose your heroes wisely.

The Moab Sun News invited Moab resident Jim Hofmann to write a counter-perspective about the controversial activist Angela Davis, who is the subject of essays that local seventh-grade students composed during Black History Month. Hofmann said that in her prime, Davis would not have been viewed as a civil rights activist, and should instead be seen as a “flat-out communist radical.” “Every time I read about one honor after another bestowed upon her by colleges and universities, it made me cringe,” he said.