I e-mailed a tumblr post I stumbled on a little while back to some people I knew. I mainly forwarded it because it reminded me a great deal of something I was trying to write but I couldn't get out in the way I wanted. I thought the post was pretty decent and close to what I wanted to say.
The response back, although not shocking knowing some of my friends and their views on the world, was a bit disheartening. Maybe I missed something in the post or I read their replies incorrectly. So, I read everything again. Nope, I read everything correctly.
The key lines that stood out to me in the initial post were- "We should be Clarks. We should be looking for the good in people. Now of all times we should be helping people just because. We need to accept that everyone is going to have a different view on things (part of the reason Clark loves humankind is the sheer variety of it) and do our best to work together despite these differences. Rather than spending our days inside on the internet bitching about shit we wish we could change, we should be going outside and actually fucking changing it."
And in a response from a notoriously pessimistic friend- "(D)ude wants a better superman, go out and make a better world and stop bitching on the internets. " (Which I might adds is hilarious because the amount of epic rants I've heard from this guy...)
I realize they are both right and both frakkin' wrong.
Let me remind back to I want to say freshman year of college. This was my height of my "People are inherently evil" phase. I can actually remember having a discussion in one of my poli sci classes about how people are just terrible and they only do good to get something out of it, not "to be good for goodness sakes." Around this time I was talking to a close friend about my hate for then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani while walking in Brooklyn. I said "If I had a gun, I would probably shoot him in the face." (Such a teenager thing to say, I know) My homeboy, either testing me or tired of hearing me whine about the situation, responded with "I can get you a gun. QUICKLY. You're not going to do it." My teenage brain quickly responded in anger that "YEAH. I WOULD...BITCH!" Naw, I didn't call my pal a bitch...that time.
But something in the back of my mind said "No. You won't." It had nothing to do with the fact that my friend wouldn't be an accesory to that type of crime and nothing to do with access to a gun. I could have easily got a cannon around that time. The "No. You won't" popped in my head because I knew that a)I was talking out my angry young arse b)me getting arrested for killing a mayor wouldn't solve the problem and c)I was (and am) better than that. It was simply an instantaneous response to me being angry at the situation of the world and someone testing my "manhood." My viewpoint on the world was screwing with my logic and grasp of reality and the feeling of being impotent just fueled my anger that much more. I was angry at the status quo, I was juvenile, I thought all human beings were horrible at their core and I figured I was powerless to change it.
Which brings us back to where I began. I was wrong then and didn't realize it.
My friend and the guy who wrote this post were both right. We should all go out and improve the world and stop bitching. But they were both wrong- my pal for doing what he wrote about people doing and also thinking the place isn't a potential place for change and this guy who wrote the post for who he chose to represent for the ideal we should choose.
Don't get me wrong- I love Supes. I think there is an inherent beauty in possessing that level of power and doing good with it- protecting the weak, stopping Brainiac, plucking scared cats out of trees. The only problem, which is the same problem with Batman (who the guy uses as the flip side argument) and other super-heroes, is that they aren't really changing things for the better. They are tools of the status quo. Many writers will make stories depicting them fighting people who are against the status quo but they are always the worst of us- doing it for money, domination or just sick terrorists who enjoy seeing the fear of others.
I think the ideal of Superman standing for truth and justice is important and if he really believed in that then he would be fighting for the little guy and going after the plutocracy that doesn't want anything to change except the threat to them, their money and their comfortable status.
We should do the best for our fellow humans and the world. We should fight injustice no matter what form it comes in. We should be open to other opinions. It's not easy but we should be the best people we can be. I'm not delusional. The world is corrupt and bad and some people aren't looking out for more than themselves and the ones they care about.
We NEED to be better than that.
The world is screwed up but we need to rise above that.
We need to be like the core of Superman's ideals but do more and change the world.
Ultimately, it's up to us to do it by whatever means we can.