American “Superpowers” Activate!

Americans are exceptional. Period.

Last night, after a day spent shopping for bargains, my bride brought home three movies from Redbox which we had been wanting to watch.  As I was laying in bed this morning, with the garlic and herb-injected leftover turkey attempting to make a comeback, I thought about the most important characteristics of the three heroes of those movies.

In The Zookeeper:

Beloved zookeeper Griffin Keyes (Kevin James) decides to quit his job to dive into the dating pool, and finds that his animal friends have been harboring an incredible secret in this comedy from director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer). Griffin is a single guy who loves his job at the Franklin Park Zoo. He has a special bond with the animals, yet he can’t help but feel lonely each night when he returns to an empty house. Eventually deciding that a more prestigious job may be the key to finding a new girlfriend, Griffin prepares to turn in his walking papers and reinvent himself. But when word gets out to the animals that Griffin will soon be leaving, they realize the only way to keep him around is to reveal they have the gift of the gab.

Perhaps with a little dating advice from his friends in the animal kingdom, this lonely zookeeper will manage to meet the girl of his dreams without losing the job he loves. Rosario Dawson co-stars in a comedy featuring the voices of Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler, Cher, and Nick Nolte.

Griffins greatest “superpower” was his great big heart and that still, small, voice within which exhibited itself in his compassion for both the people and the animals in his life.  Americans see that same compassion in the selfless service of Americans in our Armed Forces, from our “Weekend Warriors” to our troops in combat trought the world.

In Green Lantern:

A test pilot embraces his destiny as a cosmic superhero in Casino Royale director Martin Campbell’s adaptation of the popular DC Comics series. Ever since he saw his fearless father perish in a tragic aviation mishap, all Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) could think about was flying — it was the only thing the brash, cocky, and irresponsible test pilot ever truly excelled at. Little did he realize he was destined for something much bigger. Somewhere out in space, a powerful force of evil known as Parallax is spreading fear and destruction; the only hope for defeating Parallax is the Green Lantern Corps, a group of intergalactic warriors powered by the force of will.

When legendary Green Lantern Abin Sur (Temuera Morrison) is sent hurtling toward planet Earth after a deadly encounter with Parallax, his ring chooses Hal to continue the fight. The ring spirits our hero away to the Green Lantern’s home planet of Oa for training. The first human ever to receive the honor of becoming a Green Lantern, Hal is viewed with scorn by the league’s leader, Sinestro (Mark Strong), who trains him alongside the hulking Kilowog (voice of Michael Clarke Duncan). Later, on planet Earth, frail scientist Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) becomes infected with Parallax’s evil while performing an autopsy on Abin Sur, and uses his newfound powers to stake claim on Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), Hal’s lifelong friend and fellow test pilot. When Hal learns that Parallax plans to consume all life on Earth to gain the energy needed to conquer Oa, he begins looking inward for the courage to defeat the malevolent force and embrace his destiny as a super-powered peacekeeper. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Green Lantern’s greatest superpower was his indomitable will to suceed and to be the best he could be.  He, like America’s Armed Forces, possessed a will which manifested itself as courage.  This courage, utilized in never-ending fight of Good versus Evil  allowed him, even as it allows our Best and Brightest, to face seemingly insurmountable odds, and emerge triumphant.

In Captain America:

Meek U.S. Army soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) takes part in an experimental military program that infuses him with super-human powers, and uses his newfound strength to battle the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) in this comic-book adventure from director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, The Rocketeer). Tommy Lee Jones, Neal McDonough, and Stanley Tucci co-star in a film written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley (who previously collaborated on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

Captain America’s “superpower” is that of representing the “little guy”, the average American who keeps getting beaten up by the bullying vicissitudes of life, and yet says, “C’mon, is that all ya got?”  I could do this all night.”  It’s that indomitable American Spirit which led our young men to step off into the unknown on Normandy Beach on D-Day, that same American Spirit which won World War II.

These movies, at least to me, are allegories for the best qualities of the average American:

1.  Americans are compassionate.  We have given more, and done more for our neighbors than any other country on God’s Green Earth.

2.  Americans possess an indomitable will.  From William Bradford and his pilgrims, to the late Christopher Reeve, to the precious children fighting for their lives at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in my hometown.  We Americans put their minds to we, we can accomplish anything.

3.  What is it about us as a people?  What is the American Spirit?  I believe that, for average Americans like myself, it’s the way we were raised.  It’s our Christian Faith.  It’s our heritage.  It’s our unflagging determination to make a better life for our families.  And, yes, it’s our thankfulness for the God-given (not community-given) privilege of being born in the greatest country on Earth.

These are our American “superpowers.”

Americans are exceptional.  Period.

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One Response to American “Superpowers” Activate!

  1. Dana Pearson says:

    You are unique just like everyone else.

    You may have a point that Americans are more compassionate than most others.

    I don’t agree with the indomitable will part. The Spartans at Thermopylae were made of pretty strong stuff. So were Alexander’s men and Caesar’s legions. William Bradford was English. The Christian martyrs were fairly indomitable.

    America was blessed by American founders who themselves came from a stong tradition of English independence. Half of the earliest colonists (Quakers and Puritans) were non-conformists fleeing religious persecution abroad. What made America was not “religion” but rather a non-conformist freedom from religious persecution spirit. That and millions of square miles of virgin land defended only by neolithic hunter gatherers.

    America started out relatively exceptional, but we are quickly becoming as unique as all the other states of the world.