Et, tu, Atticus?

by Geraldo Rivera | Jul 13, 2015
Hope everyone had a great weekend. The weather was great here in NYC, where Erica and I spent a couple of hours re-watching "To Kill A Mockingbird" the epic film version of Harper Lee's classic novel, which I confess to not having read since college.
But Gregory Peck's deeply wrought portrayal in the 1962 film of noble attorney and loving widower dad Atticus Finch reminded me of why I wanted to become an attorney in the first place. To do the right thing. Set in Depression-era Alabama, the story follows Atticus and his two children as he defies the ignorance and racism of the time to defend a black man unjustly accused of rape.
To read excerpts of Harper Lee's recently re-discovered sequel "Go Set A Watchman" and learn that Atticus thirty years later has become a racist spouting epithets about black people is deflating and disappointing.
Why must all of our heroes, on closer inspection be flawed, sinking to the soul-corroding, lowest common denominator? How many of us are like this neo- Atticus, former idealists who've become just another cranky, selfish, intolerant, rigid, traditionalist?
I pity Atticus his fall from grace and hope the new book convincingly explains why he became just another mediocrity. But mostly I pity those millions of us who lost another hero. They are in short supply.
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