"You ready to follow Captain America into the jaws of death?"
"Hell, no! The little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight. I'm following him."
I've written a lot about Steve. A lot. I act like he and I are on a first-name basis, even though he has never met me and also does not really exist. And honestly, the version of Steve I have in my head is not the version of Steve that the rest of the world subscribes to. My Steve is... he's stubborn, and reckless, and maybe a little off-balance in the world he's found himself in. He's got a soft spot for lost causes and impossible goals. He believes in the American dream with all his heart, and he will fight for it with everything he's got. He makes sacrifices no one else can. He's a hero. He's *my* hero.
The Steve Rogers I love comes from fanon.
(Source). The fandom has sort of adopted Steve. He's not Tony Stark, wealthy and selfish and eventually going to be spearheading the campaign for the Superhuman Registration act. We love him, but he's not *ours* in the way Steve has become ours. Steve is more than a symbol of hope. He's become a symbol of everything we still want to believe in. We want to believe that there's hope for the world that we've inherited. We want to believe that the world we were promised, a world with equality and potential, is still within our grasp. We characterize Steve as a feminist, and anti-racist, a pro-vaccine evolutionist, and an LGBT+ activist.
He's the kind of patriot we want to follow.
I know this isn't what Joe Simon and Jack Kirby intended.
Steve Rogers was wish fulfillment for them. He was created in March 1941, months before the United States entered World War II. They were Jewish, and poor, and didn't have the means or the platform to fight against the increasing antisemitism that was prevailing in the world at that time. So they created Steve, to fight Nazis and punch Hitler in the face. To do what they couldn't do.
And that's who Steve is becoming, again.
An icon of freedom for EVERYONE. A beacon of truth and justice when all we see is hypocrisy and injustice. We live in a world where Congress has refused to pass laws because they dislike the man we chose to be the President. Where police officers can assault and murder children over and over again and get away with it. Where every step forward is accompanied by three steps backwards. Where it feels like our votes mean nothing. We feel helpless and disenfranchised and scared.
(Fanart by thingsforwwings).
So we're borrowing Steve.
*I* am borrowing Steve. Because I need someone to believe in. Someone that has the strength to do what I can't. It's not important that the Steve I believe in isn't the one that I see in the comics, or on screen. My Steve is made of borrowed ideas, of ideals, and of my own needs. All of our heroes are. The point of heroes is that you can see yourself in them. And until there's a hero like me, until the world is ready for Steven Grant Rogers, I'm going to make my own.
(Fanart by c0oma).