Native Writes: Heroes and women


I recently commented that my heroes were being claimed by death at an accelerated pace.

My listener, also my best friend, replied, “define hero.”

“In fact, what’s the word for a female hero?”

“Umm… heroine.” I didn’t feel as if I were pronouncing it correctly. It sounded like a drug.

“Can’t we all be heroes?”

Common language sources say we can. Sometimes equality just doesn’t suffice.

I think learning of Ray Kogovsek’s death brought my image of a hero to the forefront.

Kogo was one of a kind. A democrat’s democrat who “danced with the one who brung him,” proud of his Pueblo roots and equally proud of his degree from then-Adams State College.

He and his first wife, the former Eulice Kroschel, met in the ASC band and became great supporters of the drive to send the “Mean Moose Music Machine” to Mexico City. Eulice is a Del Norte girl.

Ray married again, apparently happily, and Eulice is in a happy relationship, as well.

Life goes on.

I recall a conversation with Kogo right before he went to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He asked me why I didn’t seek admission to the Press Corps and go to D.C.

I told him, “I have spent an entire career making you guys look bad — why would I want to leave our Valley just to make you look good?”

Since those days, I have met and covered many politicians, but none was like Ray Kogovsek. He loved his constituents and worked to make their world better, in spite of race, creed, religion, party or gender.

He didn’t hold women in lesser regard than the males who were in his world.

I was still a hot-under-the-collar feminist who wouldn’t let a man hold the door for me, open the car door or help me with my coat. He reminded me that women had been voting in Colorado since 1893.

My beliefs had deep roots. In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention in New York drew 100 persons, two thirds of whom were women. Organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton drafted a “Declaration of Sentiments, Grievances and Resolutions,” that echoed the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

“Whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness...”

“Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled.”

By the time I had the conversation with Kogo, women were flexing their muscles, but still not treated equally.

The word for a female hero is still “heroine,” which still sounds like a drug. Can’t we come up with a better word?

Wonder Woman is referred to as a “female super hero.”

How about us mere mortals?

Listening to political commentary on TV’s late news, it appears the split is still a chasm.

Kogo, put in a good word for us as you enter the Pearly Gates.

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