Poll: Who's the most courageous living American?

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Who's the most courageous living American?

An effort to name someone who's consistently stood up for American ideals and the American people.

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  • Ralph Nader
  • Amy Goodman
  • Dr. Cornel West
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Angela Davis
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Edward Snowden
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Jesse Jackson
  • Other
Viewing 14 reply threads
  • Author
    • #327542
      • Total Posts: 2,328

      We’re not talking the Flavor of the Month here. From my perspective, this person must have a long track record of public service and a courage to stand up for principles and ideals that run contrary to the status quo. I hasten to add that none of these people is perfect. Almost all of them have done something to disappoint us or to let us down. But we’re talking about people here, not saints.

    • #327548
      • Total Posts: 835

      But I’ve heard West speak in person…..here in red, red TN. I think that alone was very brave on his part.

    • #327550
      • Total Posts: 7,506

      Given everything she has had to deal with and the full force of the Spy state against her.

    • #327564
      Betty Karlson
      • Total Posts: 467

      Can we have a ticket with those two please? (Might happen.)

      I’d vote GOP if those two were heading the ticket. Or even Democratic. (Not that either will EVER happen.)

    • #327571
      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 14,586

      If you haven’t read his book, you should. That took some seriously big titanium ones to do what he did for the sake of patriotism, and after what happened to Chelsea Manning I can’t blame him for choosing exile over torture. Lots of respect for his wife, too, who followed him into exile.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

    • #327591
      • Total Posts: 2,328

      From a practical standpoint, I wanted to keep the list manageable. Otherwise, there are many others (e.g. Kshama Sawant, Rev. William Barber) I might’ve included. More importantly though, I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that – sadly – the people we admire today may wind up letting us down – or even betraying us – tomorrow. Ten years ago I might’ve put Elizabeth Warren on the list. Just look how some progressives’ opinions of the Squad have changed just in the last month. A dramatic case in point. Our system corrupts all but a precious few. The sad fact is that most of today’s heroes are going to be tomorrow’s sellouts.

      I should add that I almost included Lois Gibbs on the list

    • #327593
      game meat
      • Total Posts: 1,239

      I wouldn’t necessarily consider people like Chomsky or West courageous per se. I see them as intellectuals who rank high enough on the social hierarchy where they can freely speak their minds, more or less, without the risk of serious personal consequences. That’s not to take anything away from them, it’s just that I would reserve the term to describe someone who, when faced with a choice of action in a situation where doing the right thing provides no personal benefit to incentivize the action and there is a real possibility of personal harm to disincentivize that action, ignores that any cost/benefit analysis is far from being in their favor and goes ahead and does the right thing anyway.

      That describes Snowden, and Manning is another good one, as others have mentioned. However, my gut feeling is that the most courageous living American is probably someone we’ve never heard of, someone quietly working behind the scenes, but generally unknown to the majority of the public.

      • #327597
        • Total Posts: 2,328


        You took the words right out of my mouth. It’s more than likely that the most courageous American is someone we’ve never heard of. That’s because s/he is focusing entirely on a cause and not on becoming a personality.

    • #327607
      • Total Posts: 1,335

      have done minor random acts of kindness, helped when asked, and went above and beyond the call of duty.  They are people who come from every socioeconomic class, every race, every religion.

      I once knew an ordinary woman, of ordinary means, good health and youngish, who – without getting into identifiable details – volunteered to help provide humanitarian services in a 3rd World country, and died due to local conditions there.  Sometimes I feel like complaining about stuff, but then I think about what she did.  She probably did help save the lives of people there, but lost her life in the process.

      Other people I’ve known who’ve done similar things.  So you know, I admire most of the people on that list, but I don’t think they are especially courageous, as such – at least not in the sense that they are heroic.

      The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

      • #327641
        • Total Posts: 2,685

        Almost everyone is courageous…..at times.  Almost everyone is cowardly….at times.

        Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

        • #327661
          • Total Posts: 1,335

          Cheers.  🙂

          The opinions and personal views expressed herein are solely those of the author, and should never be taken seriously.

    • #327615
      • Total Posts: 2,328

      In 2004, a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) program asked viewers to choose the “greatest Canadian.” The honorees didn’t have to be living. The resulting list went from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I dare say most Americans have probably never heard of more than half of the names*:

      The Greatest Canadian

      1. Tommy Douglas
      2. Terry Fox
      3. Pierre Trudeau
      4. Sir Frederick Banting
      5. David Suzuki
      6. Lester B. Pearson
      7. Don Cherry
      8. Sir John A. Macdonald
      9. Alexander Graham Bell
      10. Wayne Gretzky

      What’s most noteworthy is that the person who topped the list – Tommy Douglas – was the “father” of the Canadian single-payer health care system.

      *My family is half Canadian, and I can tell you anecdotally that most Canadians know a great deal about the United States, while most Americans [sic] haven’t a clue about Canada.

    • #327622
      • Total Posts: 320

      Chelsea Manning  came to mind quickly. I really thought it would be someone else. But for not backing down, for bravery…..what an example for us all.

    • #327624
      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 8,806

      Probably no one we know

      begging the question of what god’s eye view it would take to assess the ‘most’ or ‘best’ of anything


    • #327636
      • Total Posts: 5,616

      ..but I think everybody protesting the police and risking getting killed or injured are courageous.

      I just thought they deserved a mention. 🙋‍♀️

      • #327646
        • Total Posts: 2,328

        And unlike higher profile folk, these folks don’t have the “shield” of being famous.

        I can’t help thinking about all the people who’ve been victims of police violence when there wasn’t video to show what actually took place.

    • #327668
      Red Cloud
      • Total Posts: 1,383
      • #327724
        retired liberal
        • Total Posts: 2,700

        A scape goat. An extreme case of law enforcement revenge.
        Everyone, please see @redcloud link.

        We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.
        If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.
        Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…
        Always wear a proper mask when out and about. The life you save could be both yours and mine.

      • #327783
        Mr. Mickeys Mom
        • Total Posts: 3,623


        But, I now understand. I’m going back to read his trial transcripts sometime soon.

        Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #327729
      • Total Posts: 3,830

      Many “others.”

      All the BLM protestors who are going out in the streets to fight against racism, police THUG brutality, inequality, etc… knowing full well they will likely be tear gassed, have flash-bangs shot at them, Billy clubs used on them and shot with rubber bullets.

      THAT’S courageous.


    • #327752
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      • Total Posts: 3,623

      And that’s because I’ve followed his career for decades until this very day when he is out there with The Ralph Nader Radio Hour (listen to them, if you haven’t yet). He has lived simply, worked diligently on behalf of the People, starting in my memory with getting every car to require seat belts.

      He’s been there day after day and is the most knowledgeable advocate for democracy.

      In terms of being willing to give one’s ENTIRE life towards fair treatment and equal rights, or do a stupendous thing as Edward Snowden has done, I think these two are right up there. I also realize from comments in this thread that there are people we may never know, or whom we were able to know who will NEVER be in the headlines and who seek nothing outside of doing their best for as many others as they can, and THEY stand in the same light.

      This was a great poll, @rufustfirefly … really thought provoking!

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

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