This post has been provoked by curiosity. So please if you can help quell my curiosity, do offer a comment.
A couple of hours ago I did a review of a pre-school book based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. I then went to Goodreads and read some of the reviews, which were scathing, suggesting that the author should have painted Gandhi as less than saintly because he had evidently been racist and abusive (I know nothing of this; I’m in the ignorance is bliss camp). Huh. But this is a children’s book, I thought. It’s for pre-school kids. Should we be telling them that a great man also had a bad side? Shouldn’t that wait until they are at least a few years older when they can understand the complexity of being human? Am I being silly, stupid, blithely ignorant?
In recent years it seems that “heroes” have been targeted. Someone has decided that we need to see their bad side. Thomas Jefferson. John Kennedy. Martin Luther King, Jr. Just a few names, there are more.
This seems to be a slippery slope. Without Thomas Jefferson, would America still be a colony of Britain? Without Martin Luther King, Jr. would civil rights have progressed at the rate it did. although still not satisfactory? Without Mahatma Gandhi, would India have gained freedom as quickly as it did? Without John Kennedy, what would have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis?
If we look hard enough at any individual, will they stand up to a moral compass?
Maybe we do need to see the bad side of heroes to know that they are completely human but should that take away from the good they did?
Is for the greater good acceptable?
Let me know.