God bless Whatever.
As free people in the United States of Whatchamacallit, we have the great liberty to publish any stories we choose.
Subsequently, Marvel Comics decided to release a spun yarn for Mr. Red, White & Blue himself — Captain America — in which ol’ Cap denounces America.
Good one, fellas.
The issue was penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates. As a reminder, he’s the guy who…well, here — I’ll quote myself from another publication back in 2017:
In his new book, The Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates contends that the election of Donald Trump was a result of—you guessed it—racism.
But not just any racism. According to Coates’s upcoming We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, President Trump’s rise was due to the same streak of panic that followed the Reconstruction Era in the south—when racist whites forced blacks out of the sphere of government:
“What this country really fears is black respectability, Good Negro Government.”
Rather than taking Trump’s election—and the tremendous swing of the pendulum it represented—as an indication of Obama’s abject failure, the author mystifyingly maintains that Donald J. Trump took office because Obama was so breathtakingly magnificent. He was so utterly fantastic, in fact, that it scared all the white people into voting for Trump.
Likening Trump voters to post-Civil War white supremacists (predictably), Coates writes:
“The central thread of this book is eight articles written during the eight years of the first black presidency—a period of Good Negro Government…In his eight years, (Obama) emerged as a caretaker and measured architect…He steered clear of major scandal, corruption, and bribery. He was deliberate to a fault, saw himself as the keeper of his country’s sacred legacy, and if he was bothered by his country’s sins, he ultimately believed it to be a force for good in the world.”
“The symbolic power of Barack Obama’s presidency—that whiteness was no longer strong enough to prevent peons from taking up residence in the castle—assaulted the most deeply rooted notions of white supremacy and instilled fear in its adherents and beneficiaries, (which) gave the symbols Donald Trump deployed—the symbols of racism—enough potency to make him president.”
So Marvel put that dude in charge of Captain America’s plight. For more (and worse) things, see this.
In the comic, Cap’s secret identity, Steve Rogers, is framed for the murder of a general after discovering that the (fictional) President’s a villain. Here’s a bit more plot summary, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:
Steve Rogers surrenders to authorities after becoming the prime suspect in the death of long-running Marvel Comics supporting character Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, in the process seemingly leaving behind his costumed identity.
“How can I claim to serve my country when I constantly oppose it? How can I carry this shield and fight the government that entrusted me with it?” he asks, as he prepares to surrender. “Freedom. Democracy. The right of people to choose. This is the world they’ve chosen. This is the world they wanted.” In subsequent narration, Rogers notes that “charlatans had claimed the dream.”
Then again, as per THR, the issue wraps up with somethin’ that sounds pretty good; yet, it raises a few questions:
Where will the current plotline lead? That remains to be seen, but the close of the issue — narrated by Steve Rogers as events unfold around him — offers a clue. “This could never be just about me. It couldn’t even be about another Captain America. The name had been marred. The shield was lost. But believe it or not, there are things in this world older than Captain America. And what I was, what I represented, was a need as old as humanity itself. And the need for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, well, it is forever,” he explains. “They could jail the revolutionary. But they could never jail the revolution.”
Is that endorsing American values, yet not America? What does he mean by “the right of people to choose”? What’s the political perspective here? Or is there none, and it’s just a cartoon? I’d put my money on something less terrific, considering the author. What do you think?
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