A new Captain America mini-series from Marvel Comics called, “The United States of Captain America,” takes a new approach to the legendary hero, portraying Steve Rogers as less of a patriotic icon, and more of a jaded, newly woke, and “solemn” Avenger who believes the American Dream is really “two dreams. And one lie.”
The mini-series, which is just a minor arc in a much larger universe that explores a more complex side of Captain America, per its promotional materials, premiered just ahead of Independence Day on June 30th and features an older Captain America looking back on his crime-fighting career while he prepares memorabilia for the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., per Bounding Into Comics.
Rogers is particularly concerned that he once believed that Captain America once told a U.S. military general that he was “loyal to nothing except the dream,” referencing the “American Dream.”
“I actually said that once,” Rogers sighs, pressing into a soliloquy on how the “Amerian Dream” is inaccessible.
“Here’s the thing about a dream though. A dream isn’t real,” Rogers says. “When we wake up, it goes away. And we’re left with this yearning inside. Like something was taken from us.”
“Lately,” he adds, “spending my days in this country, as the years march on by — I’m starting to think America actually has two dreams. And one lie.”
“The first American Dream is the one that isn’t real. It’s the one some people expect to just be handed to them, and then get angry when it disappears, when the truth is, it never really existed in the first place,” he says.
Rogers and his writer, Christopher Cantwell, then tread into woke territory, warning that believing too fiercely in the American Dream is the pathway to dangerous “nationalism.”
“This is the white picket fence fallacy that, if we’re not careful, becomes nationalism. Jingoism,” Captain America says as he polishes his shield. “That dream isn’t real. It never was. Because that dream doesn’t get along nicely with reality. Other cultures. Immigrants. The poor. The suffering. People easily come to be seen as ‘different’ or ‘unamerican.’ The white picket fence becomes a gate to keep others out.”
“We’re at our best when we keep no one out. A good dream is shared. Shared radically. Shared with everyone. When something isn’t shared, it can become the American lie,” Rogers continues.
Embellishing on his theory, Captain America finally concludes that the “lie is a real problem because it comes in the form of an empty promise. A while back, we told the world they could come here for a better life. But too often we turn our backs on them. Instead of a dream, they get handed a raw deal.”
The recently released issue is just the first in the “United States” series, and it is not clear whether Rogers will pursue a more progressive role. In addition to bemoaning the American Dream, the Avenger also seems to hit out at crass commercialism and, ironically, being exploited to serve various political agendas.