Superman Renounces US Citizenship! :D

In Defense of Superman

By: Tallha Abdulrazaq

I never thought I’d be trying to save Superman, and least of all from some of his own “fans” in the United States. Superman’s latest story has caused surprising controversy, and even more surprising is the fact that people who don’t ordinarily read comics are even trying to wade into Clark Kent.

Action Comics #900, part written by famed Batman screenwriter David Goyer, has Superman fly to Iran’s capital of Tehran in a show of solidarity and in order to protect the Iranian population who are protesting against the Iranian government. The usually brutal, black-turbaned Ayatollah controlled and repressive Iranian government promises a harsh military response if protesters do not cease their demonstrations and go home.
Humanitarian that he is, Superman decides that he can’t just stand (or levitate) back and allow the Iranian people to be mauled by their government. Equally, he so abhors violence and views it as a last resort so much so that he decides that he won’t harm the Iranian military. Superman instead decides to act as a human (read: Kryptonian) shield and allows himself to be attacked, abused, and also showered with petrol bombs and roses alike. Obviously, the Man of Steel is impervious to such weak weapons, including roses, and after staying for 24 hours and saving the day, he flies off in a ponderous mood. Cleary, the Iranian Army should have invested in just ONE Kryptonite bullet; I’m certain Lex Luthor would have been more than willing to oblige them.

Back in the US of A, Superman finds himself being questioned by an American official as he learns that the Iranian government has accused Superman’s humanitarianism of actually being American interventionism. Frustrated and tired of being seen as a tool of American foreign policy, Superman decides that it might be best to serve humanity as a whole by renouncing his US citizenship in front of the UN so that no one can accuse him of serving US interests when in actual fact he serves the interests of all of mankind.

One would think that such world citizenship from the most powerful being on fictional Earth would be a good thing and highly commendable. Alas, Uncle Sam is mighty upset.
What’s incredible about the media coverage that Goyer’s small 9 page story has garnered is this; Superman is not real. If he was, believe me, the world would be a lot more peaceful because no one would want to mess with him, he IS a nuclear deterrent and a misbehaviour deterrent in general, and I’ve never seen Kryptonite before which means that he is completely impervious to all our efforts. Additionally, much of the criticism has come from people who don’t even read comics. Why do media hacks who only know comics because of a few pop-icon characters care about a comic book world? Surely there are real world problems to discuss and to disseminate, like rampant American support for dictatorships around the world, maybe?

The sheer brouhaha surrounding Superman’sintention and not actualrenunciation of his US citizenship shows the staggering level that American paranoia and insecurity has reached. Apparently, everything these days can be said to be anti-American patriotism, even a fictional superhero having an opinion. Besides, since when was Superman born in America? He’s from the planet Krypton which may as well be Mexico to all the racist anti-immigration hawks in American politics. As he’s technically an immigrant, I’m surprised he hasn’t been branded as some sort of “wet back”. Oh no, wait; Kal-El (Superman’s real name) is a white naturalised American citizen! Phew!

Superman never said he was going to forget his farm boy Kansas roots. The character clearly loves his strong country principles, and represents all that is good about the American ideal. He espouses justice, liberty for all, and the democratic right to choose, as evidenced by him not interfering politically when his arch nemesis Lex Luthor ran for and won the US Presidency. Unfortunately for him, the American ideal has become just that, especially when it comes to foreign policy, and this is what he is rejecting, not America itself. When was the last time we saw the US government waging a war to save the Democratic Republic of Congo or other ravaged, strategically insignificant, countries? Never. Have we seen them promote true democracy in the Middle East? Anyone who points to Iraq as an example can go to hell. Iran runs that place now. Good job, Uncle Sam.

Superman is not uniquely an American symbol. He represents all that is good about humanity, and the irony is this; he’s from another planet. But it’s for that precise reason that his strong moral compass can be related to by a mass audience. He fights evil, stops injustice, strives to have hope and to believe in the best that people have to offer, even in mankind’s darkest hours. Besides, after all the good that Superman has done for fictional America, can’t real America cut him some slack when he decides he wants to save people all over the world, not just fight crime in Metropolis? Are apparently American ideals of truth, justice and liberty dependant on possessing US citizenship? I believe in all three, yet I’m not even American. Then again, I can’t fly or bench press the Empire State Building either, but the point stands.

As absurd as this whole affair has been, consider yourself “saved”, Superman!

One response

  1. This is DC either trying to make a political statement or boost revenue. If it is the latter, then I am not sure the American public is impressed lol- he did make Headlines for sure though. But how selfish of America to be upset over this! Their reaction really does point out ‘The American Way’, doesn’t it? haha. What they claim to be American values is exactly what the reject Superman’s decision for. It’s rediculous! It’s not like he gave up any of his/”America’s” values; he just feels people all over the world need him, and he is up for it, which is exactly what the American ideal is! RESPECT. (I still prefer Batman btw haha)

    But yeah, you said it best, Tal:
    “Besides, after all the good that Superman has done for fictional America, can’t real America cut him some slack when he decides he wants to save people all over the world, not just fight crime in Metropolis? Are apparently American ideals of truth, justice and liberty dependant on possessing US citizenship?”

    May 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

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