Rick Perry’s Superman Love Reveals GOP’s Anachronistic Policies
Asked which superhero he would most like to be, Rick Perry said Superman, because the Kryptonian was sent to “save America.” But that Superman, like the current brand of Republican politics, has come and gone.
Texas governor Rick Perry had a surprisingly charming moment when a 9-year old asked him which superhero he would like to most emulate. “If you could be one superhero, who would it be?” asked the lad.
Republican presidential candidate Perry wasted no time in replying, “I don’t know of the real current heroes, but there was one back in my day, Superman… Superman came to save the United States!” The crowd went wild, well aware that alien Superman once fought for “truth, justice and the American way.”
It was an uncharacteristically tender moment for Perry, who has been aggressive in his first weeks of his campaign and is now being advised to soften his rhetoric.
While Perry’s remark makes him look a bit more grandfatherly than gaucho, DC Comics‘ recent reboot skews the candidate’s historical understanding of Superman — but speaks volumes about where we are in America today.
DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman and other well-known titles, relaunched its entire superhero line. Superheroes are new, including Superman, who is living in a darker, more “cynical” world, one we’ll see in Grant Morrison’s version of the iconic title ‘Action Comics.’ He’s more violent, more angry and less likely to work with the police.
“I think right now, we’re all feeling that way,” said Morrison. “Nobody has much faith in their elected leaders in the same way that they did. We all have a lot more cynicism and a lot more doubt about the people who are running our lives than we did when Superman was a ‘Boy Scout.’” It’s worth noting that Perry’s a diehard fan of the Boy Scouts.
But it’s not just Superman who’s getting darker: the ‘Justice League’ shows the teams early, acrimonious days — the first issue has Batman and the Green Lantern duking it out, and, next month, Superman will throw down against the Dark Knight.
Meanwhile, the decidedly somber ‘Animal Man,’ previously penned by Morrison, is back, being written by Jeff Lemire, and bleeding out of his eyes. And ‘Justice League Dark’ will surely show the DC Universe’s bleaker side.
This new DC Universe more accurately reflects the state of our nation, rather than the long lost Golden Age in which Perry and Superman grew up.
But even before the DC rebooted Superman, the Man of Steel famously gave up his U.S. citizenship to avoid war with Iran. The right wing, Rick Perry’s base, were predictably upset. Fox News contributor Cal Thomas wondered, “Who has hijacked Superman and turned him into a U.N. loving Anti-American?” Something tells me that Perry, like all UN-loathing Republicans, would agree.
And if not with that, he’s sure to scoff at the new version of Superman, whom Morrison describes as “a bit more of a liberal activist”.
That’s definitely not the type of hero Perry would like to be, is it?
I can forgive Perry for not being caught up on Superman’s ongoing stories. He is, after all, a governor who is running for president. He probably doesn’t have a lot of time to sit back with a funny book and enjoy the Man of Steel taking on the universe’s threats. The unintentional disconnect, however, sheds light on the entire Republican Party’s anachronistic politics.
Most of the current crop of Republican leaders adhere to an originalist view of the Constitution.
“Ever since the dawn of the so-called Progressive movement over a century ago, liberals have used every tool at their disposal — including notably the Supreme Court — to wage a gradual war on the Constitution and the American way of life,” Perry wrote in his recent book, “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.”
And of course Michele Bachmann has made hay about maintaining the Constitution’s earlier meaning: she helped read an edited version on the House floor, thus contradicting her and other GOP leaderes’ point: reading of the Constitution cannot and should not change.
For Republican leaders, 21st century men and women should interpret the document as if we’re the Founding Fathers, living in the 18th century. The Constitution is not a living document, but a stagnant touchstone whose outdated perspective somehow still apply to our exceedingly complicated age.
Time stopped when the Constitution was signed, as if the Time Trapper had snatched us all out of our continuity and suspended us in 1787, the year the Constitution was first adopted by the Constitutional Convention.
Republicans want to see a world in which there are no gay rights, there is no abortion and the labor movement has been eradicated. They envision a world in which African-Americans were better off during slave days. They want the United States to dominate the world, unaware that there are no more international superpowers. They are out of touch.
The GOP’s chronological confusion proves one of two things: they’re living in an alternate reality, one perhaps created when the Flash ran the planet backward, as has happened too many times in the DC Universe, or they’re peddling a past that they think can be reclaimed, something not even the most powerful heroes could accomplish.
Here’s an image, via Newsarama, of the upcoming ‘Action Comics,’ featuring an angrier Superman: