Author Update: As you can see, this was written before his marital affair was publicized. While I am not surprised by any means (he's always been a womanizer), I am somewhat disappointed in his lack of maturity as a middle-aged man. However, I still try to look past that and focus on the positive values he represents.
Author Update II: I've been criticized very often for this article, mostly from people that already disagree with my perspectives or don't bother to actually READ the article. No I am not condoning steroid use or extramarital affairs, I am proud to say I've never engaged in either (not ever being married helps the latter part! haha). You can criticize all you want, but actually READ the article, and I won't be changing my opinion anyways.
No, I am not basing his heroic status on his politics, of which I have minimal interest because it is politics. I am also not condoning or celebrating his use of anabolic steroids in the past. I am referring to the reasons listed below for why I think he is a hero as great as almost any out there:
1) An almost classic tale of rags-to-riches, and for an Austrian-born immigrant at that. He grew up having to bike 10 miles each way to a makeshift facility with makeshift barbells and dumbbells. In the winter there was no heat and the iron from the bars would nearly freeze off your hands. He developed an incredibly large and complete physique with these rudimentary methods.
2) The sport of bodybuilding was extremely unpopular at the time when he was starting out and bodybuilding had the image of a strange small brotherhood of men lifting in dark cellars. He had to go against his parents’ wishes and society’s so that he could compete, win, and take the chance to go to America to take his bodybuilding to the next level.
3) Arnold always had a plan in his head and did everything to ensure he would achieve it. He knew from his first day bodybuilding that he would master the sport and use it to leverage a career in film the way his hero Steve Reeves had done.
5) With his physique, personality, intelligence, and complete dominance of the sport, Arnold brought bodybuilding into the public eye and helped make it popular to exercise and have a good physique. His role in the documentary Pumping Iron helped to dispel myths of bodybuilding and bring it into the spotlight in America. He was very smart in that movie to say the most ridiculous and interesting things so that he would get more publicity and make the movie more entertaining overall, even if everything he said was not necessarily all true.
6) Master motivator Arnold Schwarzenegger more Mr. Olympias than anyone (until Ronnie Coleman recently) and used his physique and success in bodybuilding to leverage big-time acting roles in major movies. Sure his acting isn’t great (some of it can be attributed to the lines given to him by movie directors), but he made probably half a billion dollars with all of his “cheesy” movies. People laugh at his acting skills but he has laughed with them…all the way to the bank as one of the highest paid actors of all time.
7) His first foray into politics was the very fitting role as head of the Presidential Physical Fitness programs where he started networking and learning his politics. Arnold used his acting success, intelligence, and love for politics to leverage a new career as the Governor of California, the state that he loved so much and gave him so much. He deserves that role as much as anyone due to his historic relationship with that state in so many ways. His ambition is still unquenchable as he continuously rallies to change the law about making a presidential candidate required to be American-born so that he could run someday in the future.
8 ) Like some others in history, Arnold does not denounce the source of his original success. Instead, he remains very active in the world of bodybuilding today with his annual Arnold Classic Bodybuilding/Fitness Competition and Expo that is the second biggest in the sport. He is a passionate spokesman for health, exercise, and fitness.
9) Finally, unlike most individuals in higher office, Arnold does not try to lie or deny anything in his past. He readily admits that he took anabolic steroids during his career because they didn’t know about the dangers at the time, that was the nature of the sport, and they were not illegal until 1991. He does not deny that he was a womanizer in the past, he was young at the time. He also admits he did smoke marijuana from time to time and doesn’t claim any bullshit like “I never inhaled”. His honesty about less than perfect past actions is refreshing in the world today, especially in the world of politics.
There you have it, a hero as good as any in today’s troubled world. While he was no Mother Theresa, I would be happy to defend his heroism against any disagreement so feel free to leave comments.