Who would the 75 year old quintessential American superhero vote for in the 2016 Presidential election today? For starters, Captain America does not exist. But although he might be fictional his mythology is palpable. Its ethereal connection to us Americans has a physical manifestation.
Trust me. I know. I get to don the uniform of this character armed with my turban and beard. I have traveled from Maine to California to Mississippi to Michigan to the RNC convention in Cleveland engaging fellow Americans from all walks of life.
This uniform has allowed for conversations to start in the midst of fear and ambivalence. It has allowed for common bonds to emerge despite our perceived and real differences
Police officers from Texas, Arizona, and New York have requested photos with this Captain America for their kids. I have been pulled into weddings. Strangers have hugged me. Members of the armed forces have affirmed their support for Captain America even more with this manifestation. Many with no familial relations to me have affirmed their love for me. Elementary school kids have embraced the turban and beard as part of their art in response to my presence.
Republican delegates in Cleveland snapped pics of Captain America holding the sign ‘Let’s kick some intolerant ass with compassion.’ Hundreds passed by, some confused which side I was on. That is the confusion I thrive upon. The vulnerability of our own assumptions at once thrilling and disarming.
All of this attests to the incredible power of something that does not exist in the here and now in physical form. This power does not make our differences melt away. They exist sometimes like brick walls that just don’t seem worth the effort to break down or find ways around. Differences that appear to have seeped to our core where we construct our own narratives, our own realities.
But this uniform somehow enables the stereotypical narratives to be shattered even if for a moment. It reminds us of our collective dreams, hopes and histories. Then there are those who find my vision of a turbaned and bearded Captain America an anathema. They let it be known by threats in person and most times sitting behind the comforts of social media.
Thankfully there are countless avengers across America to set the record straight, to shine some light of awareness, equality, and justice.
In this election cycle we have seen our ethnic immigrant identities, racial masks, gender extensions laid bare in an orgy of jingoistic hysteria. Hate and misogyny have been prostituting themselves under the guise of anti-PC expression and freedom of speech.
Washington and the establishment have become dirtier words than bitch and pussy. So given this grand circus known as the 2016 Presidential election cycle, who the heck would Captain America vote for?
Without a doubt Cap would never vote for a candidate who has the unanimous backing and endorsement of every supremacist organization in the United States regardless of whether it is unsolicited.
The confluence of these dark forces is antithetical to the mission of Captain America. If anything Cap would take it upon himself to take on these forces as a clear and present danger to the American democracy.
Would Cap vote for the other major party candidate or third party candidates? Like many Americans, The Captain has to be disgusted at the political shenanigans of both major parties. Perhaps it’s time for a real third party avenger to break the grip of two major political parties without pandering to our fears.
For now, The Captain has to make sure we exercise our right to vote and make a choice.
Vishavjit Singh is a New York City-based cartoonist, writer, costume player, and creator of Sikhtoons.com. His work has been featured in museum exhibits, film festivals, youth retreats/camps and conferences. Connect with Vishavjit on twitter @sikhtoons.