In her essay, “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” Roxane Gay quarrels with labeling Cassidy Hutchinson a hero for her recent testimony:
“It took courage, I suppose, for Hutchinson to do the right thing. I can imagine she was facing a lot of political pressure, and perhaps even danger for coming forward to share what she knew about the January 6th insurrection. … Let me be clear. Cassidy Hutchinson is not a hero. The bar for heroism must be higher than doing the bare minimum before it’s too late to salvage what remains of one’s future. … Let us not forget how she is perfectly fine being part of a party that demands the surrender of her bodily autonomy and is also fine with that circumstance for the rest of us… “—Roxane Gay
Is Cassidy Hutchinson a hero?
Gay doesn’t think so. I mean, I get it. I do. But I am genetically disposed to playing Devil’s advocate.
She is young and pretty. I detest her political connections, and I have always been ambivalent about that label of hero. Certainly, her life is in danger and Gay glosses over that with “perhaps”? Hutchinson will need Secret Service protection for years, if not the rest of her life. Gay’s “serves her right” attitude seems… unkind? ungenerous?
I might assume Hutchinson was f**king someone in the administration to get where she was. That would be unkind too. She is the first in her family to attend college, went to all public schools and university. These political connections experienced while she was still a teenager must have been overwhelming. Maybe her new lawyer offered her a different perspective. It seems clear she was pressured to stay quiet. [WaPo reports “Committee members had so much fear for Hutchinson’s safety that the hearing room was swept for bombs before she testified Tuesday, a staffer said, and she had a security detail.”] My husband said she was shaking at the beginning of her testimony. She was likely terrified. Perhaps she will write a book. Her life will never be normal, and she will be at risk forever. Maybe she’s too young to fully realize that.
NOTE: Two or three years younger than the age Hutchinson became involved in that party and the Trump administration, Hillary Rodham was president of the Young Republicans. Hillary Rodham Clinton changed her mind. It is not an easy thing to do at that age.
There used to be this thing called “consensus” where people worked together across party lines to create reasonable policy, but that went out the window before this young woman was born.
It would be nice to think that courage was not necessary in order to do the right thing or to change your mind about politics. But that would be naive. It would be nice to believe that those in power and those in thrall to power often do the right thing. That would be naive too.
Liz Cheney almost always voted to support Trump’s policies, which I find detestable. She has been around long enough to know better. Nevertheless, standing up against the dangerous direction of her party is courageous, and I admire her for that.
Let them be praised for doing the right thing in support of a legitimate ideology that I personally disagree with. Let them call Hutchinson a hero if they want. They call sport players heroes all the time—people who are merely good at playing a stupid game.
Tina Turner sang that song, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). In that context, okay, whatever, but that is not my world.
That is to say: I respectfully disagree. Maybe we do need more heroes, even though she probably isn’t the only one we’re looking for.