Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s that unpatriotic mutherf**kah SUPERMAN! Yes, beyond the birther nonsense and the royal wedding, Time Warner-DC Comics’ Action comics released issue 900, Superman, where the superhero who, right up there with Captain America and apple pie, defines American fair play and swift justice, announces that he will renounce his U.S. Citizenship…
(Sinister Music) DUM-DUM-DUMMMMMMB….
The Man of Steel is apparently an import. Or he wants to be. I can’t blame him. Coming from Iowa, where the majority of Republicans still think that the President is from Kenya, a guy with super powers and super intelligence must take a look around at the country that he has fronted for three generations and be Super-depressed.
Not that we had much in the way of intellect or ability that comes close to a guy who can rocket around the planet and lift the Brooklyn Bridge with one hand, but we had a certain image of fairness, of standing for something bigger in the world, particularly during Superman’s heyday in the 1930s to the 1950’s that made him proud to represent.
Superman has always been a citizen of the world. Wherever trouble was brewing, wherever there was injustice, Clark Kent did the Full Monty in a phone booth and off he went.
Maybe Donald Trump started calling for a check of his birth certificate. Maybe, as a news man, Clark got tired of dumbing down the news, of relying on hand-out coverage by the Obama White House rather than independent reporters working the press pool.
Maybe he’s been using Skype and found a girl in France who will give him less trouble than Lois Lane.
“Truth, Justice and the American Way are just not enough any more,” our heretic hero tells his readers.
It’s brilliant theater by the comic’s current series, because it stabs us right in our selfish, over-hyped, reactionary hearts…
Wake up call: Superman is telling us that we’re screwing up America, boys and girls.
Osama Bin Laden, who, by the way, apparently Superman can’t even find (ahem.), wanted to destroy this country.
We are granting him his wish.
9/11 took an already polarizing country, sinking in the mire of a globalizing Corporatocracy which has used up American labor, and now wants little more out of Americans than to be complacent consumers. That arrogant Arab dropped a mental atom bomb on our sense of security, justice, and fair play.
It is working.
America is becoming resentful, mean-spirited, selfish. We go there from time to time. We went isolationist prior to World War I, and we’ve done it in generations past when we didn’t feel the need to be citizens of the world.
That was a world before the Internet, though. Before overnight shipping, just-in-time delivery, and relatively cheap air flights around the globe.
Superman is right about the world being too small, too connected.
Where Superman and his creators are wrong, other than for the buzz that they wanted to generate over this, is that President Obama is right: We’re better than this.
We have allowed the fear-driven narrative of the Roves and Ailes and Fox News to reshape the American discourse into a backward-looking, small-minded, stingy mindset that does not speak to why this country was the destination for opportunity, the social experiment of many peoples, cultures and faiths that worked.
We have lost sight of who we are, and the big guy wants no part of it.
It would be rare for something like a comic book to create a kind of national moment for self-reflection, but it is here.
Who do we want to be, America? Do we want to be the narrow, selfish world of John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and the Republicans who hold up the Constitution looking for the strictness of the word without reading between the lines of its broader, world-changing charter for the equality of all people?
I’d like us to do better. Maybe we should all drop the Man of Steel a line and tell him that we’re sorry. We’ll try to do better. We’ll turn the other cheek.
I hear he has the big guy’s ear….
My shiny two.