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Ethics & Batman Pt. 2: Searching for Hope

To pick up where the last piece left off, the Batman films have much to teach us about our county’s public affairs and media climate.

In the most recent “The Batman” movie release about a year ago, the Caped Crusader makes the discovery that his crime-fighting actions motivated by vengeance with the intention of saving Gotham City has instead inspired the very people he spent the movie trying to defeat.

Past columns, particularly the Easter column from this year, have made the assertion that local commentary writers lack self-awareness when stating strong opinions. This lack of self-awareness is having Batman’s vengeance effect, to put it another way, it is inspiring the very action it seeks to defeat.

Referring to the citizens who are advocating against the LGBT displays in the library as the faces of hatred is not helping moving the county beyond the issue but rather strengthening the dogmatism one side feels about the issue.

Team formation is inevitable. With an issue as divisive as this one, there is no chance of meeting in some middle ground. Competition will prevail when compromise cannot.

But how the two sides view each other is a choice. The choice both sides are taking is one that happens all too often nationally: they make it about identity.

The goal of both sides is not to recognize someone’s position on the library displays and search for reasons as to what led them to that but rather to make your position on the library displays a reflection of who you are as a person.

Once it has become part of someone’s identity, then the dichotomous idea of good and evil is all that remains.

The first step toward healing the county would be to reject this notion and instead start treating individuals as the sum of who they are as a person rather than your perception of them based on a single issue. This isn’t likely to happen.

There is one thing that could happen, though, that would go a long way toward improving the culture of our county. This is that someone could become a beacon of hope.

Republicans are understandably hesitant to distrust hope because candidate Barack Obama used the theme so heavily in his 2008 campaign as the country’s financial crisis unfolded. Then, over the next year and a half, no one responsible for the crisis was held accountable and a system that seemed rigged against the little guy was not only confirmed but also cemented into place. This gave rise to the Tea Party in 2010 and Republicans have been weary of hope ever since.

The only thing more deleterious to a situation than no hope is false hope or hope misplaced. To extend our superhero metaphor a bit further, this is the brilliance of the Dark Knight movie and why the Joker’s plan is so particularly sinister.

The Crown Prince of Crime’s goal is not just to cause chaos but rather to demonstrate that even those we put our greatest hope in can be torn down as he does with maiming District Attorney Harvey Dent into the villain Two-Face.

We will find hope in this county. Some have elevated Crystal River Councilman Ken Brown to this role but this still perpetuates the narrative of us versus them which doesn’t have to be the case in a community as small as ours.

It doesn’t necessarily need to come from the commission though it should be someone capable of leading.

In case you’re wondering whether this is the writer’s way of trying to subtly persuade you that the Concurrent should fill this role, that is not the case either.

To conclude our multi-day Batman metaphor, the Concurrent’s role is much more that which Batman adopts at the end of both the most recent "The Batman" and the iconic "the Dark Knight" films which is that hope is necessary but that our hero can never provide it because he works best from the shadows.

The idea of the Concurrent is a niche publication; one that would never find the mainstream audience needed for real change.

Maybe these writings will inspire one of our readers to become the hero we all can place our hope in, rather than the writing that is currently published that has instead inspired a perpetuation of hate and distrust.


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