Over the course of the last few weeks, a number of mass protests have occurred in numerous cities across America in response to the Donald Trump administration. It started with the Women’s March the day after the inauguration, and has intensified since the implementation of an executive order banning the entry into the United States of Muslim refugees from seven Middle Eastern Countries, including war-torn Syria.
Trump’s ban is being compared to the United States turning away thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution before it entered World War II. Is it any wonder that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Captain America, created in response to World War II and America’s hesitancy to get involved, has become a symbol of anti-Trump protests? Simon’s daughter — and executor of his estate — Melissa Groben, told THR’s Heat Vision that she’s fine with this.
“Captain America has been around for a long time, so anytime there is any turmoil or unrest or disagreement, he pops up. We all find whatever we need in a particular character, whatever that may be,” she explained. “So, I can’t say that the way anyone is using the character is wrong. If that’s what they see in the character, then that’s what works for them,” she continued.
Groban also talked about her father’s Jewish roots, pointing out that his minority status was not incompatible with his patriotism:
“Captain America was created while the Jews were being killed off in Europe,” said Groban. “And my father, being Jewish, and Jack [Kirby], being Jewish, were enraged that America was not over there with our military strength. They created Captain America to go after Hitler because our country wouldn’t go after Hitler. My father was very, very, very pro America, pro Jewish, he was very traditional, and it was a different world back then.”
With respect to the specific use of her father’s creation to oppose Trump’s policies, Groben said she couldn’t speak to how her father would have responded to that specifically. Generally, though, she said her father “saw the character used in many different ways and was thrilled that people found something in the character that fed whatever they were looking for.”
Finally, Groben offered a nugget of wisdom to those who may be lamenting the political — or any other — interpretation of the character: “What Captain America represents to my neighbor might be different than what he means to someone from three towns over,” she said.
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