Has anyone read Peter David’s (PAD) X-Factor #217 yet? If you haven’t, prepare to be SPOILED! J. Jonah Jameson makes a fantastic speech about the Fear of the common American man—but really, his speech can apply to anyone that has ever made a hasty judgment.
“We want our country back.” Where’d it go? If neither side has it, then who took it? Guess what? I did. Me and my big white ancestors. We came rolling in and took it from the people who were here in the first place. And right after we did that, we kidnapped people from Africa to help us build it. And now we’re so worried that Karma’s coming back to bite us on the Keister. So we got to fight back because otherwise a hundred years from now, we might be the ones living in reservations and dying of small pox. We can do that. Keep everyone we’re afraid of out. Send intruders back where they came from…or maybe put ‘em in camps like in World War II, ‘cause we’re afraid they’re terrorists. Or maybe…and it’s a crazy idea, I know…maybe we can stop treating everybody like they’re the damned enemy. Says the guy who believes that actions have consequences and that there’s rules of law that should protect everyone…even the people we don’t like…people who, if you disagree with them, they’re not traitors, and if they’re new here maybe they deserve the kind of break we didn’t give others. Now: you want to argue facts and figures and impact on the econ[o]my? Let’s dance. But if you just wanna throw fear and dimwitted slogans at me? Then get out of my way ‘cause you’re wasting my time.
It’s not obvious how this issue ties into the Fear Itself event that Marvel has just begun, but I have to admit to you that when I read this, I still got super excited. There is so much here to possibly discuss that it makes me giddy as a school…well, you get the point.
First of all, where is PAD coming from here? This speech is in the midst of a demonstration protesting immigration (legal or illegal). Yet, PAD throws in some very volatile and ignorant comments. One man equates immigrants with Muslims, which are then equated to terrorists, which are then compared to mutants. (Like I said, there is so much here to discuss…but we don’t have the time.) So, it’s clear that PAD is talking about ignorant, ethno-centric Americans…but I would submit, that as the speech goes on Jameson loses the pointedness to his audience.
He talks of giving all peoples a break because none of us really deserve what we have. He talks about the Fear of losing what we have. But he also talks about not thinking that everyone is out to get you. However, then he talks about how people who have different opinions are not necessarily “traitors.”
This little tidbit is what really stuck out like a sore thumb. The discussion was about immigrants vs. citizens and then became muddled with religion and threat and even species, but how can an immigrant be a traitor? Excluding the possibility that the immigrant is a traitor to his or her own country, how can a foreigner be treasonous?
If I may put words in PAD’s mouth for just a moment—I believe the idea here is to point out that the American Political Right, as well as the Common Working Man, is feeling threatened by foreigners and immigrants in regards to their security and their livelihood respectively. The problem here is that PAD is trying to convey two separate messages into one somewhat humanist thought. But they inherently must remain separate.
I believe that this is the reason why I had some inner-conflict reading this issue. I agree, but also disagree, so where do I sit in reference to Jameson and the grander political scale as a whole? Is Jameson and by extension PAD transcendent to this scale?
I agree that the issue of security and fear makes humanity hateful and suspicious when we need not be. However, I disagree that all humans should be treated with civic equality. In other words, the government should give deference to the citizens of the polity…while still treating non-citizens with respect and humanitarian affection. This is the true issue that PAD addresses.
PAD paints a picture that the paranoid American man stupidly associates another race with a specific Fear. But I believe an answer to a stupid question, without correcting the question, is just as stupid. We need to break down our fears to their base principles and deal with them each separately. Only then can stereotypes be combated to the point of understanding.
And just as lumping all Fears together to express one’s concern is ineffective, so too is lumping all solutions into a single legislative panacea. Stop and think. What are you afraid of in this world? Is there a real reason and can it be dealt with on an individual basis, or is it simply unfounded? J. Jonah Jameson and Peter David came close to addressing them all, but fear can only be dealt with one person at a time.