We are living in a world where streams of content blast into cyberspace every day increasing the rift in a society that has never been so polarized. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” has morphed from the United States of America into the Divided States of America. Politicians no longer campaign on the merits of their policies but rather win votes by attacking the character of the opposing candidate. Social media has become a cesspool for character assassination and pejorative comments.
Ironically, notwithstanding the divisiveness that has become ubiquitous in America – and across the world – when someone has the intestinal fortitude to transcend cultural, racial, and religious differences and acts simply because it is the right thing to do, it resonates on a visceral level with millions of people.
How else can one explain the tens of millions of people that expressed respect and kudos for people like William Kyle Carpenter, the youngest living soldier to ever receive the Medal Of Honor? Carpenter shielded his friend from a hand grenade that was thrown onto the rooftop they were based on in November 2010. Both men survived thanks to Kyle who threw his body onto a live grenade resulting in him losing most of his teeth, his right eye, shattering his jaw and breaking his arm in several places.
What about the hero status bestowed on Mamoudou Gassama, a passerby who saw a 4-year-old boy dangling helplessly from a balcony on an apartment in France and in less than a minute, Mamoudou had scaled at least four floors using his bare hands to pull the boy to safety?
Neither William Carpenter nor Mamoudou Gassama asked whether the person whose life was in danger was a Republican or a Democrat. Neither did they ask what their views were on global warming or open borders.
True heroes are color-blind and transcend all differences with the understanding that in the journey of life we all experience similar challenges and there is always strength in numbers, and everyone has redeeming qualities if one can looks beyond our superficial differences.
Raoul Wallenberg symbolized the values and character of these kinds of unsung heroes. A Gentile who refused to stand by idle and allow the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis to go unchecked. Using his own resources and putting his own life on the line, Raoul Wallenberg is believed to have saved the lives of tens of thousands of innocent Jewish civilians because he personified the traits of a good Samaritan by doing what is right rather than what is popular.
Cancel culture may have intimidated many from expressing the view that most intellectually honest and centered people with integrity realize – i.e., – that animosity and infighting flies in the face of the high road that the Founding Fathers of the USA spelt out. It is not by chance that tens of millions rally behind unsung heroes who do what is right regardless of how it will be received in wider society.
The overwhelming receptive and warm response from the Honorees nominated to receive the Raoul Wallenberg Legacy Awards, as well as the excitement expressed by the service providers and vendors who are an indispensable part of ensuring the success of an event of the magnitude of The RW Legacy Awards, cries out for a world where there are more Raoul Wallenbergs and where people of all backgrounds hold hands rather than take up arms.