At the end of the day, Captain America is more of a symbol than a guy in a suit. That being said, not everybody who has worn the scale-armor and head wings embodies what an American hero should be. He isn't just a tool for the government, he's a man that protects all people, embodying the so-called American values that even the Founding Fathers didn't fully live up to. That being said, there are times that even Steve Rogers: the Captain America-est of Captain Americas, didn't meet the standard he set for himself as a sickly teenager in pre-war Brooklyn. So in the name of freedom and justice for all, here's a list of 10 times Captain America betrayed us all.
10 When He Abandoned Earth For Dimension Z
One of the hardest parts of being a hero is the sacrifices you have to make for others (Fun Fact: hero is actually the Latin word for sacrifice.) There are things expected of a hero that aren't expected of the average person. Whether that's fair or not, it's something most are aware of when taking on the title.
When Captain America was stranded in Arnim Zola's Dimension Z, he became involved with the issues of its natives, even adopting a son. At the time, he was disillusioned with his life on Earth, so while it could be argued that he was only exchanging one set of responsibilities for another, it's also implied that staying in Dimension Z was his way of escaping what was expected of him back home.
9 When He Persecuted Others For Their Beliefs
During the age of McCarthyism, when shows like The Twilight Zone were criticizing or at least bringing light to the ridiculousness of Cold War hysteria, Marvel was publishing a Captain America comic that would have made any adult, far-left comic reader feel unsafe (though there weren't too many of those just yet.) The story was retconned to explain that the Captain America of this era was actually some guy named William Burnside, but at the time it was being published, readers believed that this was the same Steve Rogers that fought for the rights of others only a few years earlier, and in retrospect, that isn't very cool.
8 When He Worked Outside the Law as "The Captain"
Though he operated largely in the grey during his time in the late-80's as The Captain, this incarnation wasn't a malicious person. Instead, he just worked with what he had to keep doing what he loved: protecting America. Still, his choice to run with some truly questionable anti-heroes, as well as take on missions that did more to hurt bad guys than help innocents has to make you question his motives. For now, all we can do is chalk it up to his struggling to find his place in an America very different from the one he once knew.
7 When He Laid the Beatdown On Some Drug Dealers
Most people who have at some point sold drugs will tell you that it was the last thing they'd like to do for money. They'd also tell you that their communities don't offer many other ways to make a liveable income, and the legitimate opportunities that do exist are limited. Though it was very edgy-90's-badass to make Captain America a champion in the War on Drugs, Cap's first goal should always be to help the people, even when they can't help themselves. That he seemed to support the kind of police state overreach that he later opposed in 2007's Civil War even is a betrayal of his values, plain and simple.
6 When He Turned Out To Be A HYDRA Agent (Obviously)
This is probably the example that's freshest in most peoples' minds, so it obviously had to make the list. It was a pretty big shake-up to everything we know about Steve Rogers to discover that from Day Zero, the man we thought stood for everything just was actually a member of HYDRA. Super-scientific justifications and plot devices be damned, Captain America delivered a huge blow to us, the readers, when we first learned that he had always been the enemy. As stated, any canon issues that raised were quickly explained with comic book science, but the initial reveal was a lot for many of us, and something some readers still have trouble getting over.
5 When He Agreed to Work With Wilson Fisk
20 years later (probably about 5 in-canon) and it seems Cap still hadn't learned from his time as The Captain. Similar to that story, Steve Rogers' actions during the 2007 Civil War event mostly came from a benign place. By refusing to sign the Superhuman Registration Act, he violated the law only to maintain what he believed were true American values. In partnering with Wilson Fisk however, he compromised those values in exchange for resources, which is an incredibly governmental thing to do, and not as much of an American one by Cap's own definition.
4 When He Allowed Mutant Terrorists to Call Themselves Avengers
Though they hadn't committed their most egregious crimes at the time of their first stint as Avengers, Wanda and Piotr Maximoff had still proven to be dangerous individuals and only barely proved to have the potential to represent the same team as some of America's true heroes. To lead a team with such individuals on it was nothing short of reckless, and to continue to do it even as both committed future acts against the good guys is something that put the safety of all Americans at risk.
3 When He Allowed A Mentally Unstable Anti-Hero to Call Himself An Avenger
For somebody with such high standards for his enemies, Steve Rogers doesn't seem to be too picky about who he associates with personally. Letting Moon Knight on his team of Secret Avengers isn't the smartest thing the then-Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. could have done. Heck, it's one step away from bringing on Deadpool. Allowing an unstable individual to take part in a government-led crusade could easily end in a thousand scenarios that put the American people at risk, and out of anybody, Captain America should honestly know better.
2 When He Couldn't Stay Out of Other Peoples' Business
In 2014's Avengers vs. X-Men event, Captain America was adamantly against allowing Hope Summers, a reincarnation of the most famous Phoenix Jean Grey, to merge with the entity known as the Phoenix Force. For a guy who has lead Avengers teams with both Scarlet Witch and Sentry, it seems kind of odd that he'd be so against unstable omnipotent forces finding a place among an Earth-based team. He had his reasons for allowing those heroes on the team, just as Cyclops had his reasons in favor of letting the two merge. When it comes down to it, a lot of the harm that this feud caused could have been prevented if Cap minded his own business.
1 When He Succumbed to His Age, Not Just Physically, But Mentally
During the recent Time Runs Out arc, we saw Cap lose his Super Soldier Serum, resulting in his body recalibrating to that of a regular 90-year-old man. Though fans have always thought of Cap as a member of The Greatest Generation, he's also always been on the forefront of change. This depowered, elderly Steve seemed much more averse to change, even the change he initiated by appointing Sam Wilson as the new Captain. The two clashed both intellectually and physically, and Rogers showed that there was only so much progress he could take under the new circumstances of his life.