13 May 2013

A Hero On His Own

Good Heavens, sometimes I wonder if I am not becoming a bit of a “contrarian” myself. These Dispatches’ political/social commentary do seem to point out the motes in others’ eyes.

At least I think I turn discussions toward  some positive learning – usually a lesson that I need reinforced for myself.

Today, we’re looking at the “Cleveland Hero.” He’s Charles Ramsey, the guy who heard a young woman locked in a kidnapper’s house screaming. He broke down the door to get her out. This led to the rescue of three other young women held captive.

Ramsey was interviewed by a local TV station. He explained simply, if colorfully, what he did and what he was thinking at the time.

Follow-up stories have treated Ramsey rather shabbily.  It turns out that he has a minor criminal record and served jail time twice. News stations chased down a long-ago ex-wife and a lawyer who represented him in the past on a misdemeanor. Their message was that whatever he did in the past, they wished him well now. The lawyer even talked about Ramsey having “redeemed himself” by making the rescue.

What elitist rot.

What we have here is an ordinary guy. He works as a restaurant dishwasher, a low-paid, unskilled job. His employer says that he’s a happy guy to be around and that he works hard. There’s a great deal of dignity in that, because that can’t be said about a lot of people.

Add to that that his number came up for one of those never-predictable moments when a person is challenged to go outside his comfort zone for damn good reason. As we have shifted away from a No-Questions-Asked-I’ll-Help-My-Neighbor approach, we have begun to lose cohesion as a people. When someone bucks that trend and gives unselfish service, it is noteworthy.

It is UNworthy of anyone to resurrect a less-than-perfect past. Those who would grant Ramsey “redemption” are bona fide hypocrites.

You there, you who are so free with forgiveness – You’re the same guy who drove drunk all the time in school, right? And you! That little affair of yours appears to have been hushed up, wasn’t it?  Over there, you – You slipped those phony deductions past that old IRS, didn’t you?   

Don’t you all be talking redemption. You’re not The One qualified to do it.  Not even close.

Ramsey has stepped forward and affirmed his own dignity and values. He doesn’t need anybody’s permission. He stood up on his own. 

God bless that guy.

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