Three new heroes.

In the last three days I have gained three new heroes. One of them might have become so purely by mistake, and another one of them will not seem remotely noble to most people. The third one is the easiest one: Dr. Wang Wenyi.

Dr. Wang practices Falun Gong, which caused her to be denied entry into China for her father’s funeral last year. Falun Gong has been illegal in China since 1999, and many of its practitioners have been harrassed, persecuted, detained as felons, and if certain reports are true, have been subject to live organ harvesting.

Anyhow, Dr. Wang showed up at the White House welcoming ceremony for the President of China, Hu Jintao. As Hu was speaking, Wang began to scream at him and President Bushin Chinese and English. There are differing accounts of what exactly she said, but what she said to Hu boiled down to “Stop being a commie,” and what she said to Bush boiled down to “Make him stop being a commie.” Amen, and here’s to freedom in China.

The hero-by-mistake is whomever “accidentally” announced the Chinese national anthem at the welcoming ceremony as being that of the Republic of China. Well, mainland China is technically the “People’s Republic of China.” The “Republic of China” is… Taiwan. Whoops. Sorry about that. Honest.

The hero most people will find repulsive is a gentleman named Lee Raymond. Who is he? He’s the former CEO of Exxon, who received a retirement package worth $150 million. Doesn’t exactly cut a heroic figure, does he? So why do I admire him? Because during a discussion at Columbia University on Tuesday night, in the midst of calls for congressional investigations into high gas prices, he had the nerve to say this:

Back in 1998, when prices went down to $10 [per barrel], I don’t recall anyone in Washington calling me up and saying ‘what can we do to help.’ But I didn’t want them to be calling up. That’s our job. We are in that business. It’s our job to manage the risk. I am not interested in hearing from [politicians] when prices are at $10 and I am not interested in hearing from them when prices are at $40 or $50.

Okay, it may be a stretch to lump in a multimillionaire with the likes of Dr. Wang as heroic, and I’m not happy about $3 gallons of gas, but nonetheless: Amen to what he said Tuesday night. I announced my mindset on this issue in an earlier post: it disgusts me that “Congressmen who can spend as much of other people’s money as they want, raise taxes on other people’s money almost as much as they want, and give themselves a pay raise almost whenever they want, with a less than a ten per cent chance of being voted out of office” would demand that anybody justify their prices and profits.