"With great power comes great responsibility" said Uncle Ben to Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's first Spider Man adaptation. This is powerful, even revelatory advice in the morally simplified Marvel universe, yet it is still entirely unrealized in the Obamified, "change has come ... ?" universe this blogger inhabits. Weren't we supposed to be in the D.C. Comics world, here? A world governed by intellectualism, moodiness and billionaire hideaway caves? It's not that I don't still love Barack, or that I don't appreciate his cerebral, contemplative badassness, it's that I was expecting a Batman to Bush's Spidey, an American hero whose interest in urban community-saving stemmed from parental issues and a life-long, "outsider" mystique. Bush, like Peter Parker, got lucky with his powers -- nepotism was his radioactive spider; Obama, like Batman, has had to learn on the job with little more than his instinct and gadgetry to guide him.
Superheroes, as evidenced by box office receipts alone, carry more weight in twenty-first century global consciousness than any single elected official. They offer hope and excitement, are held accountable when they fail to save the day -- they don't seem an awful lot like politicians, for one thing, or worse, bankers. There's something wonderfully apolitical about men and women in tights and capes because we, the reader/audience/Everyman, are allowed to believe in something universal for a short time, not something Democratic or Republican in nature. "Good" must defeat "Evil" by the end of the hero's story, and both of these forces have been clearly established and personified from the beginning. Superheroes don't seem to fight over health care, or bitch about a "War On Christmas," or deny global warming, or credit a "pact with the devil" for Haitian suffering -- hell, they don't even tweet, it would probably ruin their secret identity. (What? You don't think @clarkkent would get found out in a heartbeat? "Totes kicked @lexilu's ass 2nite ... time 2 snuggle up w/ @llane. LOL.") All superheroes, not just Spider-Man, strive to live up to their inherited responsibility, all too aware it has come hand-in-hand with their crime-fighting, world-saving powers.
Them fat cats on Wall Street don't think that way. Obama, bless his Bruce Wayne-esque heart, holds pragmatism and political maneuvering above all else; his responsibility is to his country for a fixed period of time and to do the best job possible. He works to enact legislation from the Oval Office, he doesn't jump from building to building kicking criminal ass whilst reducing unemployment numbers through green jobs (though that's a cool visual, isn't it?). While he has the makings of a cooler, edgier superhero than many of his predecessors, our president isn't a superhero -- he is a smart man with a tough job.
There is still a place for heroism in our messy state of populist distress and repeated governmental reticence. I, for one, am still an Obama devotee, and am quite sure that his vision for our nation's future remains tangible. This is why I have decided to adopt a superhero alter ego: GoCause. GoCause is a beacon of hope for our country's progressive future, the personification of aid to non-profit groups and community organizations and a combatant of injustice nationwide. Below is a trailer for a new web series, "GoCause," which chronicles my efforts to lead the infamous double-life so many of our heroes have been known to live, lives caught in the crosshairs of civilian normalcy and kick-ass world-saving.
Now, to draw parallels between Ronald Reagan and the Green Lantern ...
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