I was born in 1948, three years after WW2 ended. My schoolteachers were veterans of that war. One, in particular, I remember was a navigator on a B-17 dropping bombs on Nazi Germany. Another fellow was a vet too, was in on D-Day, was shell-shocked, lost his family, and ended as the town drunk. I learned from him what even the “survivors” have to sacrifice.
I was bred in the 50s, a time when patriotism was not sneered at by the cognoscenti (Those Who KNOW). It was a time when the rabid right has not moved into center stage. And the lunatic left was muted. The libertarian fanatics who think only of the next dollar they plan on stealing were a bad dream, and the nattering negativists of the Progressive Movement were yet to be hatched.
From the very first issue, Cap was there to defend American values. (After all, he did give ole Adolf a sock on the jaw!)
There are those flag-waving crooks who give love of country a bad name. I have even seen “Proud Americans” who want to shoot children at our borders, and approve of the Red Chinese executing people they call “terrorists”. (Whether they are terrorists or not, depends on whether you believe the Red Chinese – who also say the Tibetan Buddhists deserve to die.) Amazingly, they always need money – your money – to combat the evil Menace To America, but never seem to win. Or be crushed. (If The Enemy were that evil, these rubbish-spewing clowns would be the first to go.)
The sophisticated and elite culture snobs sneer at corny patriotism, and damn America for all its faults. To these, the USA has no virtues whatsoever. Condescension towards the “fools” who enlist in the military is the closest they get to compassion for their fellow citizenry. They condemn the Right-radical nihilists for their hate of the poor, and yet never stop to give a quarter to a homeless person holding up a cardboard sign by the side to the road.
Truth, Justice and The American Way – That’s what Superman fought for. But Superman was a Strange Being From Another World, not native.
Captain America is nobody special, just a kid from Brooklyn, an experimental lab rat who worked out OK. He is quietly a man of Faith, but not a fanatic (he knows the difference between the One God and an imposter). He thinks all Americans are equal, and deserve an equal break. He’s been powerless, and knows how that feels, and wants to use his strength to help others upward. He doesn’t want to kill anyone, but he doesn’t allow bullies to go unchallenged.
With the advent of the MCU movies (and Chris Evans is a perfect Captain America), various philosophers and pundits have got into the over-analysis trip. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting series of reads. Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. Needless to say, there are others, as well as a small cottage industry of serious books devoted to Cap and his ethics.
I believe in Captain America. I believe in a patriotism that grows misty eyed when the Star Spangled Banner is sung, when the Old Vets parade on the Fourth, or Memorial; day, when a preacher gives a benediction at a school graduation ( they still do such, don’t they?).
I believe in Our Town and Good Morning Miss Dove and George Washington and Abe Lincoln and FDR and Martin Luther King and apple pie (and tacos and pizza). I believe in Christmas pageants and Midnight Mass at Easter and Labor Day Picnics.
Most especially, I believe in the Fourth of July with the parades and fireworks and Sousa music blasting from every radio speaker. It is corny and old-fashioned, and very black-and-white in an age of shades of dirty grey.
We need some of that corny again.
I Believe In Captain America!