comic books Culture Politics

Captain America for President

Illustration by Peter Pham for the Daily Titan

Published in Tuesday’s Daily Titan.

It’s October and the presidential election is in full swing.

We watch as President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney debate, cheering our respective candidate while blotting out the other. And soon, perhaps during last night’s presidential debate, undecided voters must make their final decision with the election only 16 days away.

Not me. I’ve already made my choice. I was undecided until early October, but while watching the first presidential debate, it came to me in a spark of inspiration.

I’m voting for Captain America. Yes, the Marvel Comics superhero who wields an American flag shield.

Don’t get me wrong: I think both candidates are OK. I’ll even concede that Obama has a trustworthy face. I just have a complete lack of faith in the political system, that’s all.

Both candidates are, simply put, good alternative choices. They are more of the same bland crop of American politicians who are unwilling to think outside the box and are eager to spend America’s money. The debates have shown that Obama and Romney lack backbone, sticking in the shallow end with a “war of words.”

That’s boring.

If Captain America has a problem with you, he will tell you outright why you are lying. Some shield throwing and punching may be involved.

For example, in the mid-2000s Civil War storyline, the American government forces all superheroes to register to the government with the “Superhero Registration Act.” Seeing this as a tremendous overstepping of government authority, Captain America vehemently rejects this unjust law.

Since he is breaking a federal law, a group of U.S. special forces agents surround him with guns drawn. His response?

“Weapons down or I will not be responsible for what comes next,” he says.

Romney couldn’t even summon that amount of backbone in his dreams.

Captain America stays away from politics, but he knows when his country has its priorities in reverse. In s #128 (1970), he comes across a Vietnam-era university protest with students rioting against police officers and an “aloof” college dean.

“Here’s where I oughtta step in and make like a swingin’ hero! But how do I know whose side to take? What the heck—the cops don’t need any help—but these kids do!!” he says.

In 1974, months after the conclusion of Watergate, Captain America discovers that a high-ranking government official (assumed to be President Richard Nixon) is working for an evil terrorist group.

He promptly rejects the U.S. and calls himself the Nomad.

Captain America’s fans have always been attracted to his courage. Beyond his suit he is, after all, Steve Rogers, a scrawny young man who was not able to get drafted into the army during World War II. But his determination makes him the perfect candidate for the “Super-Serum.” He’s the target of bullies, the underdog, and he brings this into his role as Captain America, where he now has the strength to fight for the underdogs.

His selflessness and defensive nature are perfect presidential qualities. “Captain America is not here to lead this country. I’m here to serve it. If I’m a captain, then I’m a soldier,” he says in a 2003 issue, adding:

“I am not a ‘superhero’… I am a man of the people. Together, you and I will identify and confront America’s problems. Together, we will figure out what we are and what we can be. Together, we will define the American Dream and make it an American reality,” he said.

He’s an idealist who is not bogged down by a political party. He doesn’t campaign in swing states, he goes out and fights evil.

But these issues are all chump change compared to the real reason why Captain America deserves the leader of the free world honors.

On the cover of his first-ever comic book appearance, in March 1941, only months before  the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain America is shown doing something extraordinary. He is decking Adolf Hitler in the jaw.

That’s bad-ass.


Holy Captain America, Batman! (Art)

The Star-Spangled Man on the prowl for evil-doers. Includes one free pro-USA quip per fight.

I decided to do some drawing today. It has been on my mind since I did some window painting a month ago. But I haven’t done much proper drawing since high school.

As you can see, Captain America is my first subject! I used colored pencils but I hope to move onto pastels soon- pastels look better but are harder than colored pencils.

Next up: Batman!

News Photography Politics

A day working at the California Primary Election (Photo essay)

I worked 15 hours as a poll worker clerk in the California primary election Tuesday, helping voters cast their votes.

This is our polling location, a newly-remodeled house nestled in the hills of east Yorba Linda. It is a small precinct, only having 825 voters in a dozen streets.

We had a great view:

Beautiful Yorba Linda in mid-morning as the clouds started to clear up for the day.

As it was the primary election, there was an expected poor turnout. Many voters in Yorba Linda seem to vote by mail (335 out of 825 people, or 40 percent). That leaves 490 potential voters that could have voted from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We had 108 voters. That means 22 percent of voters showed up at the polls. (See METHODOLOGY for more info).

So we had 100+ voters in 13 hours. That is a lot of free time. Luckily, I brought Insurgent by Veronica Roth, The Avengers (Ultimate Comics Avengers vs. New Ultimates) and Captain America (Marvel Masterworks: Captain America, Volume 6) to read!

This is the JBC (Judges Booth Controller), a computer that gives voters a code to vote and stores their votes. The clerk puts in the voter’s party and the voter is given his preferred ballot at any of the eSlate voting machines.

JBC computer.

These are the eSlate voting machines (they look like touch screens, but they use a track-ball iPod-like thing instead).

The eSlates.

The family who hosted us took care of us with sandwiches for lunch, a fully-stocked fridge of sodas and lasagna and bread sticks for dinner.

My brother Daniel, who also served as a clerk, eating his dinner.

This is my fourth time working at an election, and being a poll worker is always an exhausting but rewarding experience. I get to experience Democracy first-hand. It is great that in America, anyone can contribute to our government. I love seeing voters proudly flaunt their “I Voted” stickers.

One guy, probably in his late 40s, who zoomed to the polls in his yellow motorized bike, said he has voted in every election since he was 18 and eligible to vote.

“I wouldn’t miss it, it’s one of the perks of being an American.”

Poll workers received a primary pin (right).


-Photos and text by Tim Worden

METHODOLOGY: This is not scientific, it is my best estimate. There are some technicalities (a few voters who were Vote by Mail came and voted, so that would have some affect). I went through the list and counted the 335 Vote By Mail voters so naturally I made an error or two. So I will arbitrarily say, with the power vested in me (aka all the power in the universe), that my conclusions are true to within plus or minus 3 percentage points.