The Gross National Debt

Thursday, June 4, 2015

You keep using that word

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Really. Inigo said it best, albeit he wasn't referring to today's Word du Jour.

Today's vocabulary word is Courage. Say it with me. Courage. I knew you could.

What does this word mean? As with Every. Single. Word. On. The. Planet. everyone who uses it will have a slightly different definition.

To a 5 year old, "courage" means being able to walk into a dark room and hunt around for the light switch.

To a person dying of an incurable disease, it means looking death in the eye and saying, "bring it."

To a paramedic, it means running into a vehicle that is on fire, grabbing the person inside the car and pulling them out.

To you, it may mean something else. Here, I will give you examples to define what it means to me.

The classical definition of courage can be found here. I like what Omar has to say. Here's another. I like Nelson's quote.

Let me suggest to you that all the people so hepped about Noah Galloway should ask Mr. Galloway what his definition of courage is. I suspect his definition and yours are not the same.


I tell you right now, This. Is. Not. Courage. No sir.

Before someone rips my head off (not that this information will stop them), I salute Veteran Galloway. His achievements are beyond description. This man is a hero, a hero in part because of his drive to compete in athletic events. He is a hero because he stood in my place, in your place, in the place of that guy hiding in the bushes in your back yard. He is a hero because he went to war. Indeed, during his time in the service, he exemplified courage.

Veteran Galloway deserves respect, honor, admiration, accolades, laurels and ... you get the idea.

But saying overcoming and powering through the loss of limbs to become an elite athlete is courage? Hang on to that thought

How about, determination. Drive. Ability. Stick-To-Itiveness. Strength. Character. Zeal. Keep going.

Courage? Mmmm, keep thinking.

Courage is made up of all those things Veteran Galloway embodies. Indeed, in his push to become an elite athlete, he did display courage. He had to. No doubt it helped him to excel.

To say he is the poster boy for courage as displayed by athletes?

No.

Point blank – Courage is overcoming fear. Ayn Rand said the worst possible thing you can do to someone is refusing to admit they exist. You want to know fear? Be abandoned by absolutely everyone. Be rejected by absolutely everyone. There's you some fear. Why is the fear of public speaking ranked higher than a fear of death? Rejection and ridicule.

Veteran Galloway did have to overcome some fear as he worked to become an athlete. What he did NOT have to overcome is the ridicule of a nation, the jeers of the people who once supported him. Galloway did not have to worry about his family being vilified. He didn't have to worry about how his family would support him. He might have suspected there'd be some rejection, but he could not know it for certain.

If you bothered to follow those links, you now know what I am talking about. Whether or not you support Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, one thing is undeniable. This human being had to overcome a suite of fears that most of us will never have to experience. The Arthur Ashe award is for athletes. Jenner was/is a professional athlete. Veteran Galloway also is, now, but didn't plan to be.

The question is, which took MORE courage? Standing up and making a profound, irreversible change in personal and public identity despite knowing excoriating attacks would follow or regaining what was lost?

Both people made a change. Both people serve as an inspiration to others like them. Only one of the two is going to be attacked for the rest of that person's life, and beyond, for the change that was made.

One person displayed more courage. You should be able to get my opinion on who has more courage. YMMV.

While I'm here, do you really wanna see courage? REAL courage? OK, here you go.


Wanna see more? Visit your fire department. Visit your local law enforcement department. Visit the local ambulance/EMS office.

I know Veteran Galloway will point to these guys and say "There's real courage." I hope Jenner will do the same.

One last thing. The meme is also wrong.

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