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Posted at 03:56 PM ET, 04/13/2012

Cory Booker enters legend


Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks about rescuing a neighbor from a fire Thursday. (Mel Evans - AP)
Talk about government working for you.

On Thursday, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., darted into a burning building and saved his neighbor from a fire.

Cory Booker puts the “action” in political action committee. The only kind of ceiling he worries about raising happens to be on fire at the time. The only kind of resolution that passed was his resolution not to pass the building without going in to help.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” the nation screamed, in unison.

“Super” is too often used to describe truly un-super things, like committees and PACs and Tuesdays. But Booker deserves it.

Others in his place might have focused on passing a resolution condemning fire for its War on Buildings and expressing their sincere condolences to the families of the building’s inhabitants. Instead, Mayor Booker made it into the building — and our hearts.

It’s been a while since we had a good hero.

Mitt Romney once rescued a family on his Jet Ski, but no one gives him this kind of attention. “Of course it was on a Jet Ski,” cynics mutter. “He was voted Most Likely To Perform a Jet Ski Rescue way back in high school, if only because he was the only guy there who had one.” But what’s he done lately?

Meanwhile, there’s so much bad news these days. Earthquakes. Rocket explosions. The continuing popularity of “50 Shades of Grey.”

And then Cory Booker comes along, a man with the kind of resume you generally find on the back of presidential action figures — a tight end at Stanford, Rhodes Scholar, with a law degree from Yale, who loves Twitter almost as much as, at present, it loves him.

Twitter, at its worst, has all the charm, wit and subtlety of a mob never instructed in the subtle art of spelling. At its best, you get this type of spontaneous outpouring of appreciative delight. Cory Booker’s love of Twitter has never been exactly unrequited. He was tweeting before it was cool. But now he’s a folk hero, with his own hashtag, #corybookerstories.

How quickly we create folk heroes.

First came Chuck Norris, who defined the genre. But Booker quickly transcended his predecessor. “When Chuck Norris has nightmares, Cory Booker turns on the light & sits with him until he falls back asleep,” quipped Miles Grant.

We leap to calumniate. But equally, we leap to celebrate. Mayor Booker sprang into action, and everyone came out to cheer. He was the toast of Twitter, the lion of the interwebs, lauded from hashtag to hashtag. It’s nice to see someone do a good deed and be recognized.

And Twitter has never been known for its restraint. Once the memers get going, they don’t quit until you are rubbing shoulders with Zeus himself, rescuing strangers from burning buildings and holding timely press conferences afterward — but wait, Booker already did that.

“We can’t all be heroes,” Will Rogers said, “because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” And on occasions like this, we’re happy to clap.

By  |  03:56 PM ET, 04/13/2012

 
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