By Segan Helle
I have a confession to make. It is a secret that I have been keeping for a long time, deep down in the dark crevice in my heart where most suppressed memories go. I want to be a superhero. I want to be a caped crusader: a vigilante. I want to be the hero that Bonita deserves, but not the one it needs. I want to fight bad guys and right all of society’s wrongs. I want to save the world.
It is not an uncommon dream. In fact, most people want to be superheroes, or used to at one point. It is the dream job that we all gave up once we were told that chasing perps in tights was not a viable career option. We were taught to move on, to grow up; we were taught that we had become too old for playing superheroes.
I think that we all want to save the world. We are a generation that was born into war. We cannot remember the last time that the United States preached peace and practiced it. We were born into a nation where advanced screenings at airports are commonplace: where we have all but desensitized ourselves to international bombings and shootings because that is the reality that we grew up in.
We were born into a world of economic depression. We walk past the homeless and view them as reminders that times are tough and that we must be tougher.
We are a generation that was born into problems. We are a generation that was taught that we do not have the solutions. We keep our noses to the grindstone; we work hard now for the promise of a diploma that will lead us to a degree, in the hopes that eventually we will earn a paycheck that will get us through the day.
No one can say that they are not bothered by what they see happening around them. No one will say that there are no issues to be concerned with. The news outlets all blast the same stories: war in the Middle East, unemployment in the United States, human rights violations in Africa, tyranny in North Korea. We all want to be the hero; we just were never taught how. We are not old enough, not smart enough, not wise enough, and not capable of fixing the world right now.
But I want to be a superhero, and if there is anything that I have learned from geek culture, it is that the most unlikely people accomplish the greatest feats. Frodo Baggins was three and a half feet tall and he saved all of Middle Earth. Luke Skywalker was regular teenage Tatooine moisture farmer until he defeated the Galactic Empire. Steve Rogers was a plucky wimp who transformed into Captain America.
We are a generation that lives on social media. We have the power to incite social revolutions, to reach out to one another across the globe just with the click of a button, and to spread our ideas across continents. We are a generation of independent problem solvers. We grew up learning about great activists and leaders from prior generations. We can reach out to others in the smallest ways; we can volunteer at shelters, or organize donation drives, or simply try to make the world a brighter place, because that is what heroes do.
We are a generation of thinkers, of writers, of workers, and all else that we were raised to be. We can be a generation of superheroes.