According to Merriam-Webster, a hero is one who shows great courage. Courage is related to heroism because courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Courage is having the will to act upon a wrong, knowing that there could be grave consequences to your person and you could walk away at any time, yet you do it anyway.

As Americans, we are too quick to give people the label of hero when they really aren’t. It’s a form of idol worship and a way to feel better about ourselves. Yet, when we have a genuine hero come along, we tend to vilify them instead of praise them for the courage and fortitude it took to do the right thing. Bradley Manning is, in my opinion, a true hero. He, for sure, is a flawed hero, but what he did, he did at great cost to his own liberty and, as we are now witnessing, his own sanity.

What is happening to Bradley Manning is a reflection of what we, as Americans, have become. There is no doubt that, if guilty of the charges against him, Manning broke the law and there should be consequences, but the fact that politicians, the military, and ordinary Americans are okay with his detention and torture proves that far too many of us enjoy the government being a monster to someone who may have done something wrong rather than investigating the truth.

Although it appears that Manning could be labeled a traitor for releasing state secrets, I would argue that he is a courageous hero because, in releasing the state’s secrets, he has exposed the grave dangers and harm that our leaders have been placing the United States in for many years. How could any human who has access to such information not reveal it to the world?

Right now, it does not matter if Manning is guilty or not. His treatment was, is, and continues to be inhumane. Manning is no traitor. He is a patriot. Look it up. He is far more a patriot than the GOP and teabaggers.

The true facts are that the Wikileaks cables are an embarrassment for the United States government and someone has to be made an example of. It doesn’t matter that their civil rights and human rights are being violated as long as the government portrays him as a dangerous monster. There is no absolute proof of Manning’s guilt yet. There is no proof anyone has been harmed by the release of the cables. What has happened is that the cables show the US government is guilty of many atrocities and has been very good at covering it up, until now.

Others are starting to speak out and condemn the treatment of Bradley Manning. Manning’s father has stepped forward with an interview on PBS, who have also done some great coverage of the events that are unfolding.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

His clothing is being taken away from him, and he’s being humiliated by having to stand at attention in front of people, male or female, who are fully clothed. This is someone who has not gone to trial or been convicted of anything. It’s shocking enough that I would come out of our silence as a family and say, now then, you have crossed the line. This is wrong.

If you are angry about the treatment of Bradley Manning, don’t just get irate, raise your fists, and make a comment online. Write your senators and congressmen/women. Let your voice be heard. Let America see a true hero and help save Bradley Manning from more torture before he finally loses his sanity.