The all-American comic hero Superman announced he will be renouncing his citizenship before the United Nations. After I heard the news, I discussed it with a graphic novel aficionado and discovered it wasn’t what I thought, yet another example of the wisdom to read well past the headlines of the Drudge Report.
Superman was standing up for the same old “American Values” — in Iran. This led to the fiction-based incident of said regime accusing the United States government of interference. After all, if Uncle Sam is the symbol of America, Superman is it’s adopted son. Hence, Superman did not want to be seen as a tool for the GOVERNMENT of the COUNTRY he loved. Unlike many of us, he knows the difference.
This brings me to an interesting side point: Was he American even to begin with? Was he officially adopted, or born elsewhere of non-native parents, the ultimate Illegal Alien? Sure, Clark Kent may have acquired a Social Security card somehow, but can Superman even claim citizenship without a known identity? Did Trump’s agents find his birth certificate, or did it conveniently blow up in outer space and he must be hiding something? Sorry … wrong fantasy plot-line.
Anyway, the writers of the character now insist he will always be “a Kansas farm boy from Smallville” that “embodies the best of the American Way”. Baseball, Apple Pie, Superman. We get it.
Or do we? What IS the American way? Lots of things come to mind. Perhaps they are mostly scenes of an older time, through the eyes of [[Norman Rockwell]]. The more realistic and educated among us question if that isn’t a white-wash, or a half-truth, remembering that even the framers of the Constitution argued at length over almost every basic value and their representations in law. Those values can be found today scattered in pieces across different political parties, each imagining or at least proffering that they — like Superman — are the embodiment of the American Way. Opinions abound as to who holds the better hand on that one …
Americans use the term “American” in the same way Christians use the word “Christian”. Just as we think of charitable kindness as “Christian” regardless of one’s creed, in revolutions for freedom around the world, we assume we are the inspiration, or at least feel a kinship with their struggle.
However, some (exclusively on the Left it seems) are consciously aware and admit they reject the textbook ideals of America and even it’s Constitution as outdated, irrelevant, or worse. They consider the traditional (read “conservative”) as not THEIR America, at least the one they want to live in. Which brings us back to a question: If Superman isn’t rejecting America and all it stands for, is America rejecting America?
The more conservative among us may have a limited or less diverse notion of the American Way, stuck within the frame of a Norman Rockwell poster. Some take this to the extreme as well, adn this may even offend those whose ancestors were left out of the American Dream. But there’s a whole new breed of American, one that outright loathes it’s heritage, despises it’s place of power in world affairs, vilifies the spoils of meritocracy. Equality is their euphemism, vowing to place the allegedly oppressed in our society in dominant position against the alleged oppressors in some morally justified, passive-aggressive class war. The pigs of [[Animal Farm]] are at the table, dressed as farmers, ready to vote.
But this is not limited to extremism on thr Far Left. It has filtered through our education system and the proddings of a progressively controlling state from suggestion to law to unconscious, unquestioned assumptions. Anything “good” is suspicious; prosperity for one must mean oppression for another; whatever advances or even protects American interests abroad is evil imperialism.
Mocking the Free Market that (once) brought unprecedented quality of life and prosperity for nearly everyone, we no longer entice foreign lands with the words “Land of Opportunity” — we APOLOGIZE for it. “It’s a Free Country” is the argument children use against their parents when told they can’t do or say something, a notion they will outgrow like the Easter Bunny. There is so much of a political fight over things like “In God We Trust” that any pretense of the separation of religion and politics is a contradiction. It is far easier for criminals to own guns than citizens, and the latter is reviled as much as the former.
No, Superman renouncing citizenship is of no consequence. Americans renouncing the American Way is another story. No wonder Superman must go to other places in the world to act out the embodiment of those values.