Perhaps in some way or another, for we all have a path, a driving force. For some it is out of habit, out of honor, ritual, promise, debt or beholden. For others it is with their whole being. It is something that can be hated, marred, wounded, raped and turned against, yet even if you try you can not forsake it.
I am not talking about anything wrong here. No vice or addiction. I am talking about belief. I am talking about pride, passion and the sacrifice that comes with following your heart, your guts and what you know is right. Right for you. Right by you. Your meaning and your purpose. It doesn’t always come in the form of world-changing action. Nor Holy Soldier sacrifice and martyrdom. No, in fact no one may ever even know.
I know this may all sound like an overly dramatic lead in to what I’m about to talk about, but you know me, I have my reasons.
Captain America. Marvel made its name on the line “With great power comes great responsibility” Everyone knows that saying and they equate it to Peter Parker/Spiderman. It can be said for many a superhero. Right now I’m taking on Steve Rogers.
Many people associate Captain America with the government. With the White House and army soldier. This is a misinterpretation. Yes Captain America was created by government officials to breed a new kind of soldier. Yes Steve was a scrawny sickly young man who would have done anything to help defend his country. It was WWII. People give him the sigma of simple-minded soldier from a meat and potatoes background from a “simpler time”. (And you all know my thoughts on that matter. I mean every time is simpler then the one you are living because the present is what you know, your day-to-day, don’t we all personally have it harder than our neighbors, friends etc, because we live our lives. Come now! Same dif!) Well the fact is times were different. In WWII we were a country fighting for a noble cause. The bad guys were obvious, the point clear. Now all that aside Steve also had nothing to lose. His parents were dead, he had no more family. He was poor and the injustice of it all (the war I mean) ate at the beliefs he held so dear. If you really look at his driving force, his reason for wanting to join the army so badly you will realize that it was never to be a soldier, to fight for America per-say, but to fight for those being wronged, for those who couldn’t fight for themselves, to defend freedom and the right to live.
Fast-forward to present day: Captain America is now pigeon held to the government and army. He is a soldier there for, in our current definition of the term; he is a blind yes man. Trained to fight who he is told is the bad guy. This is what gets my goat so hard. This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to the current Captain America/Steve Rogers character. Steve was never truly a soldier he was a defender. Brought up in poverty, during the depression and second world war he knew evil. He knew wrong. In his neighbors, in his friends, his alcoholic father and beaten down, worked to literal death mother. These were the people he was fighting for. The men and women who didn’t have that voice. He was fighting for the dream that it could get better. That America gave you that chance and as it did for him at any moment could turn it around. He fought in the war to give it to those people’s trapped under the Reich’s boot. To carry that dream over and beyond. because he believed so much in the dream and ideals that a new world was built upon.He had a passion to see it through…to the bitter end.
Now in this man lies a really, truly interesting character. This is why I loved him so much. Why he is, by far, my favorite character in lit. So many times have his beliefs been used against him, twisted before his eyes into a warped purpose-serving means to an end, by people who are supposed to be the ones in power to help those in need. To keep the dream alive. Many times has he wanted to abandon this title. This stigma of Soldier America. Political America. Yet he can’t. His heart, his manner, his pride, ethics and beliefs won’t let him. He has to wear this flag because to so many, the ones he fights for, he was once himself, it is a symbol of hope. Even if they scoff at it. Think he is a joke, he wears it because it is a symbol of the fight for better.
He walks a lonely road because the flag is what people see. The flag that is representative of America. And America for so long has become wrapped up in the way-ward politics and sacrificial wars. Yet if he set the mantel down…what then? The world needs heroes. Something to believe in. If he were to give up then it really would be over. That “simpler time” idealistic world where one could be proud to fight, to see the flag and wear it. He is not the government never has been. He is a spirit, a dream, long forgotten and forsaken but echoed in hope.
Steve Rogers is Captain America is Steve Rogers. He can’t give it up any more than he can give up living. It is his passion, his fight and his purpose. Raped, wounded, forsaken and used he still stands, because of hope. The only thing that keeps any fighter standing. Alone he is misunderstood. Alone will always be a part of him, perhaps the biggest part that makes him who he is. Yet passion drives and purpose saves.
In the land of the brave…