The Heroes We Deserve

by talkbackty on Jan 15, 2012

"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now." -Commissioner Gordon (The Dark Knight)
Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is by far the best superhero movie of all time. Judging by numerous website ratings it's also one of the best movies of the last decade. Rarely, if ever, is a movie inspired by such silly and playful source material able to strike such powerful cords.

Cords that resonate with viewers long after the credits roll. The Dark Knight is a film that allows people to escape only to show them a reflection of society, and it is not a bright reflection at all.

A commenter on a blog said it eloquently:

drvictordavishj: "The key is the way Gordon draws a contrast between (Harvey) Dent "the hero we need" versus the Dark Knight "the hero we deserve." Nolan is saying that we need a law-abiding idealist, but that we don’t deserve him."
As the United States amps up once again for a presidential election numerous people across the country and world could care less. The media picks a new republican to elevate each week in hopes of bolstering ratings throughout the long campaign season. Every person knows that Michelle Bachman was never going to be President. Neither was Herman Cain, Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. Neither will Rick Perry or Rick Santorum.

But these are our heroes. These are our leaders. President Obama, Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid. These are the men and women who are supposed to be our White Knights. Yet, not one is anything more than a sock puppet for special interest groups, banks and lobbyists.

"Because I'm tired of it. Year, after year, after year, after year, having to choose between the lesser of who cares. Of trying to get myself excited about a candidate who can speak in complete sentences. Of setting the bar so low I can hardly look at it." -Leo McGarry (The West Wing)

We continue to allow our rights to be taken away. Sometimes piece by piece and sometimes in massive sweeps disguised as protection against our enemies. The, so-called, Leader of the Free World signed a bill on December 31st that makes it legal to hold United States citizens in jail...forever. With no charges or trial. All anyone has to do is claim they are a terrorist.

We assassinate our own citizens, apply justice arbitrarily, allow our private lives to be searched without a warrant, refuse the global community the right to try our leaders for war crimes and, incredibly, denounce other states for doing the same exact things.

Maybe America is the world's Dark Knight. We take on the evils of the world and the only way to do so is by getting our hands dirty. Just as the Joker brings Batman again and again to that moral line he does not wish to cross, the world is doing the same to America. Maybe we don't want to be the way we are, but what other choice is there?

I turn again to an anonymous commenter:

drvictordavishj: Nolan is ultimately saying that strong societies don't tolerate Dark Knights. If we do, it's only because we lack confidence in the institutions and values that we've inherited. After all, with all his gifts, Bruce Wayne could have easily been Harvey Dent, but because he lacks confidence in legitimate institutions and his moral inheritance, he’s not the philanthropist and healer that his father was. He's the sign of a sick society."

Ask yourself, do you have confidence in our institutions? Is the government of the people, by the people and for the people?

The sad truth is there are a great many things wrong with this society. We need no more evidence than the existence of all the Dark Knights we allow to exist. Whether they be vigilantes fighting crime in New York City or the very countries we live in.
These are the heroes we deserve. These are our silent guardians, our watchful protectors. The existence of Dark Knights is a sign of a sick society. And our society is filled with them.