This Independence Day rolls around during a very turbulent time for the United States. The race for the Presidency has been filled with vitriol and divisiveness. It has been fought with a bitterness and even hatred, and through it all, supporters on both sides seem to agree only that America is headed downhill. But not everyone is ready to give in to the negativity. Over the years, several comic book characters have come to represent all that is good about the United States, and, more importantly, the potential it has. Captain America is a symbol of the American dream. Here are five moments that remind us what we should stand for.
America was founded to be a safe haven for those oppressed religiously and politically. It had its fair share of issues, and some, unfortunately, persist to this day. But the substantial progress that has been made can’t be ignored, either. This is a land of freedom and opportunity, and as Cap says here, that extends to all who wish to build a better life, no matter where they were born.
In the years following the September 11 attacks, xenophobia and religious hatred hit highs that hadn’t been seen in decades, directed mainly at Muslims and those from the Middle East. Many prominent leaders bolstered this by preaching fear. In this comic, a man who lost his daughter in the attacks tried to get revenge by attacking a Muslim man. Cap stopped him, and by doing so, reminded us all that unity, not fear, makes America strong.
Many Americans do not agree with our various military interventions overseas. Others believe we don’t intervene enough. Regardless of your beliefs, however, the fact remains that those who joined did so to protect their families, their friends, and the nation they call home. No soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman is perfect, but their willingness to put their lives on the line for millions of people they’ll never meet is admirable. Not only does this moment honor those who fell, but it reminds us of the heavy and irreparable costs of war.
On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. This Declaration was a letter sent to Britain, but it was about one man: King George III. The Founding Fathers respected Parliament, but they found the King to be tyrannical. They put their lives at risk and branded themselves traitors to the crown, all because they believed in a nation that did not yet exist. Two centuries later, Captain America still holds those same values: that no man or woman is above any other, and that all have the right to live as they choose.
Many people are disenchanted with the United States government. Right now, 80% of the public actively disapproves of Congress’ performance, while 46% disapprove of the President. Many people take a straight ticket approach to voting, and vote Republican or Democrat for every position, regardless of policies. In this scene, however, Captain America reminds us where our loyalty should be. Not to the institution, or a political party, but to the ideals that America represent. Values like opportunity, unity, respect, and courage. But above all, Cap represents freedom: freedom for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Avid comics and video game enthusiast and aspiring comics writer.