When I was a kid, the first person outside my family to become a hero to me was Paul Simon, the songwriter, singer, guitarist, and sometime partner of Art Garfunkel. I admired him not only as an artist, but also for the principles expressed in his songs.
It's been four decades since then, and by golly, he has always made me proud! Just the other day, he spoke before Congress to urge them to override Bush's outrageous veto against healthcare for poor children:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XWsF...elated&search=
For decades, Paul Simon has been providing mobile medical care through specially-outfitted busses that visit poor neighborhoods in New York City, and he has endowed the city's public libraries, as well. He went to South Africa before the lifting of Apartheid in order to bring the world's attention to the music of South African blacks, helping to raise awareness of the anti-Apartheid movement... and he braved a firestorm of misinformed criticism for it before people finally figured out his purpose.
And of course, he's written some of the greatest songs of all time.