California Councilman Lan Diep believes that government “can be fun,” and you should too. That’s why, rather than be sworn in with his right hand over a Bible, he opted to wield the star-spangled shield of Captain America in a move that aims to please. “I’m not above creating a bit of spectacle if it helps people pay more attention to local government.” When it comes to that vibranium shield, Chris Evans may not “deserve it” anymore, but Lan Diep sure does.
He was sworn into the San Jose City Council on Tuesday, and though his hope was to engage with his constituents in said bit of spectacle, Diep failed to realize how compromised Cap’s identity is these days.
To Diep, the shield “represents America’s ideals.” He said, “I do hope to aspire to those ideals of fair play, equal justice, and democracy during my term.” We saw Cap defend those values in last year’s Civil War onscreen, as played by Chris Evans, but the patriotic supersoldier’s legacy has been a bit tainted as of late in the comics.
It’s hard to forget that Cap has been a double-agent working for Hydra all along, following the reveal of some shady memories after he regained his youthful body.
Everybody heard about it, nobody liked it (not even Stan Lee), and we have the current writer, Nick Spencer, to thank for it. And that writer, by the way, recently defended the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer who was punched by a random assailant in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. (There’s no relation.)
So while Councilman Lan Diep’s heart might have been in the right place in trying to engage with a fun-loving group of constituents that rarely pays enough attention to local politics, it’s important to remember that — especially these days — that shield with the star and stripes can mean a bit more than just democracy, justice, and fair play.
But bonus points for using a really realistic replica. It could have been worse.