Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey can put a new title next to his name: hero.
Although he humbly denies it, Cory Booker deserves recognition for his actions. According to reports, while Booker was on his way home from work Thursday night, he spotted his neighbor's house engulfed in flames. After stopping the car, he found out the neighbor's daughter was still inside. Despite the protests of his security detail, Booker took action and entered the house to search for the missing woman. After stumbling through the smoke and flames, Booker and a member of his security detail were able to carry the woman to safety. She is currently recovering from only second degree burns to her back and neck. If not for Cory Booker, the outcome of this story could have been much worse.
Mayor Booker refuses to be labeled a hero in this situation, claiming he was just doing "what most neighbors would do." True, Mr. Mayor, any good neighbor would be willing to help out in that situation. But, any good neighbor would also deserve to be labeled a hero.
The fact that Booker was willing to stick his neck out for someone in a time of need is heroic. This is an extremely significant point that hits close to home for most Americans. Here is a politician who did not act for his own benefit. He was not trying to win votes. Booker acted as any normal citizen would act. Booker's actions do not fit the mold of most politicians who often seem separated and disconnected from the people they represent.
During the 2008 presidential election, many Americans were drawn to President Obama because he was the "cool" candidate. He was relatively young, with a beautiful wife and two awesome kids. He could be seen singing, coaching basketball, and spending time with family. Again, this attitude is what Americans want to see in their elected officials. We want to be able to relate to politicians and, likewise, we want politicians to relate to us.
This is by no means a new attitude either. When our founding fathers set up our representative government, I believe they set it up with the intention that elected offials would serve their term and then return to whatever profession they came from. Most elected officials were farmers, businessmen, and bankers, but few were career politicians. In fact, that was a reason for breaking off our relationship with England. The idea of being ruled by an empty crown 3,000 miles away was intollerable. The opinion of the day was that we Americans can govern ourselves. That opinion carries through today, where we still look for elected officials we can relate to.
No matter how many times Cory Booker denies credit as a hero for saving this woman's life, I think he deserves it. His actions stand for the good natured and honorable values we Americans look for in our politicians.