Want to buy a hero?

November 4th, 2011 by Ken

Do you want to buy a hero?

Seems like it’s a pretty easy thing to do. Just dangle an incentive in front of a fire fighter and you’ll soon have a hero on your side.

That statement may seem a little mean, but it has more than an element of truth. Just take a look at Initiative 1183.

That initiative gets the state out of the liquor business, but is a better example of what I’m talking about. Both sides – – those opposed to 1183 – – and those in favor of 1183 – – have pulled out their fire fighters to use in pushing their particular agenda. But why fire fighters? Why did both sides think they needed fire fighters to make their point?

Let’s go back to September 11, 2001 – better known as 9/11. At that time, more than 200 fire fighters died when the twin towers fell. The nation, in its grief, looked for something good to come out of that mess and they found it – – in the fallen fire fighters. They became the nation’s new heroes.

And, so it started. Every fire fighter became a hero. Every time they responded to a fire, every time they drove down the street in their red fire engines with the American flag flying, every time they stood on the street corner soliciting money for some good cause – – fire fighters were heroes.

And, who better than a hero to push a cause. Last year, when voters turned down an initiative to get the state out of the liquor business, it was the fire fighters and their opposition to the extension of liquor sales, that turned the tide and caused the initiative to go down.

This time around, the same tactic was tried and the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters came out in opposition to 1183. Except this time, those in favor of the initiative had learned their lesson – – and came up with their own heroes. They drafted their own fire fighters to come out in favor of the initiative. It was the battle of the dueling fire fighters and the dueling heroes.

Using heroes to push a cause isn’t just a national or state issue. It happens right here in our own community. Two years ago, Lacey fire fighters organized and defeated three incumbent members of the Lacey City Council. Now these heroes continue their political involvement in local politics, endorsing and supporting candidates for local elective office, even though they have no reason whatsoever to be involved in partisan politics and often don’t know what the candidate stands for.

But their signs – – Endorsed by Fire Fighters – – hangs from campaign signs around the county.

What good are heroes if they’re for sale?

(Editors note: Several people have responded that fire fighters aren’t getting any money for their support, and that’s true. But what they’re selling is their “Hero Brand”. People getting their endorsements are buying the brand, and fire fighters are selling the brand to easily.)

Posted in Business, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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