Jerry Carter Sierra Crest - January 2020

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January 2020

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY Why I Still Admire Our American Heroes Even Though They Aren’t Perfect

What would have happened to our country if King and Franklin had held back because of their flaws, like some people do? I’ve held back at times from doing good in the world because of my imperfections, and now I think I have been wrong to do that. If we let fear and shame keep us down, we deprive the world of the best we have to offer. Despite his flaws, I still find King inspiring. Through his words and deeds, he’s changed millions of lives for the better and inspired people of all races. He made a real mark on the world, and it would have been a shame if he had deemed himself unworthy to make a difference. The same goes for our other flawed hero, Benjamin Franklin. As a lawyer, my mission is to guide small business owners over rocky legal terrain. As husband, son, and father, my mission is to build a better life for my family. Many times, I’ve questioned my ability to do those things and whether I’m a good enough person to shoulder them. In the end, though, the only good response is to do it. If I can help protect someone’s business, or successfully extricate a small business from a lawsuit, or make my family laugh, I’ll have done some meaningful good in the world. This new year, I aim to do just that as often as I can! If you’re a small business owner and could use my help, I’d be proud to put my years of legal experience to work for you. Give me a call today at 775-448-6070, or visit SierraCrestLaw.com.

Both men are set to be celebrated this month — King during Martin Luther King Jr. day on Jan. 20, and Franklin on his birthday, Jan. 17 — and I’ve grappled with my feelings about it. I can’t stop thinking about these lines from the article about MLK: “When King preached to his congregation, he often spoke of himself as a sinner. Unlike some preachers, he meant it. He knew that he was a flawed man.” King certainly had his share of flaws, but he also did a lot of good in the world. Perhaps more importantly, he did that good and put himself in the public eye even though he was well aware of his problems. The same went for Franklin, who not only helped found our country but gave us libraries, fire departments, and a better understanding of electricity. Weighing up the good, the bad, and the ugly about both men, I’ve realized that ultimately, no one is perfect, and without flawed heroes, we might not have any heroes at all.

Last year, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that added to what I know about Martin Luther King Jr. Until then, I’d always thought of King as a civil rights hero, the man whose “I Have a Dream” speech and strides for equality on behalf of all races were legendary. That is still true. But the article revealed that King also had a darker side. Though King was a preacher, he was far from a saint. In fact, he appears to have been a serial adulterer with an alcohol problem, and some of the incidents involving him were downright disturbing. Reading the piece reminded me of how, back in the late 80s, The New York Times unearthed some similarly uncomfortable facts about American founding father Ben Franklin. Not only did his lifestyle fail to live up to the Puritan ideals of the time (which really frustrated John Adams), but he also neglected his wife, was estranged from his son, and had some truly dark thoughts about God and human nature.

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