America is in turmoil right now. Well, it has been most of my life, and I’ve been around for a long time. There is an ongoing clash between the Idea of America and the Reality of America. The latter is far darker, more ominous, and eats away at hope.
I believe in the Idea of America. And I believe in the power of story to help us organize our thoughts, reflect on that dark reality, and, possibly, move forward, even if it’s just a little step.
Now, to be honest, there are many Americans who feel that time is long damn past for “a little step” But if everyone takes a little step, and every story contributes another step, and, sometimes, within really well-written and well-performed and well-produced stories, several little steps are taken in quick succession and that is the genesis of hope.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is taking exactly those steps, episode by episode, scene by scene, line-by-really-well-crafted line.
This show is about the clash between the Idea of America and the Reality of America. It is complex and complicated, layered with history and agendas, and is both subtle and overt, and, ultimately, there are no easy answers.
Ain’t that America.
But sometimes, if we are brave enough to even consider the questions, if we have the courage to hear other views, no matter how uncomfortable they are, that may possibly spark progress.
America desperately needs to end casual, institutionalized racism. We need to correct so much about American life, especially regarding how we treat our own people, our neighbors, our fellow Americans.
The sad Reality of Racist America has hurt our people for far too long, for our entire history, if we are brave enough to look at facts. And the terror of racism is continuing.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is taking on the difficult task of having the awkward, challenging discussions about the hate tearing at what America can be. From the ground level differences between how white Americans and Americans of color are treated by banks, police, and the United States government, to our dark history of racist abuse toward our own fellow Americans, Marvel is tossing light on our darkest realities.
Add to that a glimpse of how we are seen around the world, the different agendas of those in power, and you have a gripping tale. Tell it around magnificent action sequences and you have what might might prove to be Marvel’s most important offering.
How do we define our heroes? How do we define ourselves as Americans? And are we truly interested in finally incorporating the Idea of America into the Reality of America? Those are the incredibly bracing questions this show asks of all of us.
And our country would be so much stronger if we watched and reflected, truly reflected, on what our answers are to those questions, and what they should be if we want to honor the Idea of America in our daily lives.
Arresting performances. Thrilling action. Engaging characters. Thrilling action. Top-notch production. And substantive discussion that needs to be heard today. Marvel is making some brave TV.
It is not too late to binge the first five episodes available now and be ready for the finale next week.