This I Believe

James - The Woodlands, Texas
Entered on November 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in cartoons, and the power of their stories. Excellent cartoons for that matter. Growing up during the nineties as a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons, but not too many leaves a deep impact in my life as few select ones do, and that I carry with me in my everyday life.

One cartoon that has helped form my principles in life is X-Men that ran during the nineties. Before I even knew the words racism and bigotry, I saw it demonstrated by a group of anti-mutants who called themselves Friends of Humanity one Saturday morning. Before breakfast was made I remember sitting in front of the TV, and then asking myself, “Why do they want to hurt people they don’t know?” That didn’t make since to me sitting there thinking about it. What did make sense to me is how not to ever be at their level of hate and ignorance. Seeing Professor X and his X-men strive to be above all the fray of hate, and to always try to bring peace was an awesome thing to me, telling myself, “I want to be a hero like that.”

Another such cartoon has been my absolute favorite is Batman: The Animated Series. It wasn’t just any cartoon; it was a cartoon that had values that I uphold. Their stories told of events that any child can understand: tragedy, sorrow, humility, intelligence, and the strength to never give up a good fight.

I remember sitting there watching one episode after coming home from school after getting a cup of milk to drink. Towards the end, Batman booked Harley Quinn at Arkham Asylum, but before he leaves, he gives her a blouse she tried to buy a day earlier. Of course she asks Batman, “Why are you doing this for me? A person who’s never given you anything but trouble.” He hands her the blouse and probably one of the best replies I ever heard him say, and that just astounded me, “I know what it’s like try and rebuild a life. I had a bad day too, once.” Sitting there seeing and hearing what he just done, shook my foundation of how much humility he has towards everybody he saw, who needed a second chance.

Since those times of sitting in front of the TV watching these cartoons, I carried with me what it means to be a good guy in this world, what it means to do the right thing, values that I picked up from the most unexpected place.