Captain America has always been one of the Marvel heroes co-opted by right-wingers. The idea of a superpowered American soldier, downed with the Red, White, and Blues, and fighting for “liberty” is just too over-the-top to give up. This points out that rarely have they read a Captain America comic, where he consistently represents a progressive kind of America patriotism. While that may still be a silly political position for the superhero, it has been consistent since he was punching Nazis in the 1940s.
In the first issue of the new Captain America: Sam Wilson comic, Captain is targetting right-wing anti-immigrant groups who are patrolling the border and making extremely racist claims about people of color’s rates of welfare and social service use. The militia group, called Sons of the Serpent, confronts undocumented people with lines taken straight from the headlines: “you come here for employment that is rightfully ours! And if denied it, you seek welfare paid for by our tax dollars! Also, you know how you make me press one for English at the beginning of every call to my satellite provider? That is something I cannot abide!”
This is an incredible use of the character to confront contemporary issues that are from the rise of anti-immigrant racism around the Syrian refugee crisis, the Donald Trump candidacy, and the general immigration contention. Conservatives, on the other hand, have been ranting and raving since Wednesday’s release about the betrayal that Captain America has expressed against “American values.” This reveals some of the more embarrassing attempts to retain a one-dimensional American myth, when instead the character has always been used to critique institutional policy. If you want your Captain without politics or social commentary, then read a children’s book without real characters or ideas.