In March of 1965, Esquire magazine published this article about auto racing legend Junior Johnson, who was described in the article by its author, Tom Wolfe, as “the last American hero”.
Well, if Junior Johnson was the last American hero, then Elizabeth Warren is the last great American.
As far is as known, Warren, born in the heart of Oklahoma and now represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate, never hauled moonshine whiskey down backroads while trying to evade federal agents or found ingenious ways to bend the rules to her advantage. Instead, Warren has been a steadfast advocate for saving the capitalist American economy from its own greed and penchant for putting poor and middle-class people at a disadvantage to the wealthiest people.
American heroes are popular and win fights that conventional wisdom would lead one to believe is winnable. Great Americans aren’t always popular, especially at first, but they win fights that conventional wisdom would lead one to believe is unwinnable.
Abraham Lincoln wasn’t always a figure who was widely revered. In fact, multiple states seceded from the Union in response to his victory in the 1860 presidential election. What made Lincoln a great American is that he was able to lead the Union to victory in a war to reunify our great country and lead the effort to abolish the horrific institution of slavery in America as it existed before and during the Civil War. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another great American, was detested by many Americans during his lifetime, but his steadfast advocacy for civil rights in the face of oppression helped make America more of a democracy than it was during the segregationist Jim Crow era of Dr. King’s lifetime and before.
Elizabeth Warren finds herself in a moment in our country’s history where a great American often arises. America is far from the proverbial “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan spoke of in reference to America. America has massive wealth inequality, a criminal justice system that is fairer towards white people than people of color, crumbling infrastructure, a political and electoral system that gives far-right voters and interests disproportionately more political power than their share of the electorate, and failed, authoritarian-like leadership from a Republican Party that, in no way, shape, or form, resembles the Republican Party that nominated Abraham Lincoln for President 160 years ago.
Warren faces many barriers on her path to the Presidency. The most obvious barrier of all is Republican President Donald Trump, who would waste no time using the office of the presidency as a political weapon against Warren or whoever else wins the Democratic nomination. Warren’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination are also barriers on her path to the presidency. However, the toughest barrier for Warren to overcome on the presidential campaign trail isn’t in the form of a political candidate, but rather the media. The news media in this country, dominated by right-wing political punditry disguised as journalism and paid for by corporate advertising, is seemingly alternating between trying to erase Warren from the public conscience and trying to drive a political narrative that is unfavorable to her campaign.
Let’s not pass up this opportunity to elect a great American like Elizabeth Warren to the White House, because we won’t have another great American like her.