He was born Kal-El and hailed from Krypton originally. His beloved father helped coordinate a narrow escape, one that would make him a refugee.

Although gifted with compassion and supernatural ability, he remained an outsider to western culture. He remained undocumented. Not long after his arrival, a kind-hearted couple from Kansas adopted him. He assimilated under the American name “Clark Kent,” and took on a regular, American life. As a normal American, he worked as a journalist with a 9 to 5; he aspired for comfort, love, and acceptance.

Superman isn’t coming. 

Under this Republican House and this Rebublican Senate, he would be at risk of deportation. Under such a regime, it wouldn’t be advantageous for him to draw attention to himself or to his family. It wouldn’t be worthwhile to arouse suspicion or ire. This injustice wouldn’t incite him to action; he wouldn’t know who to identify as the threat.

Superman is principled. He has a code of ethics and a moral standard. He isn’t swayed by political weight or political might. He isn’t moved by an overwhelming sense of justice for all. He is moved by isolated, dramatic instances of chaos: evil that must be eradicated. Immediately.

He believes in honor and truth, but honor above all else. Oh Captain, my Captain.

Superman isn’t coming.

He respects the law, and he respects those who govern it. He follows the rules that exist, no matter how unjust. If his own actions prove criminal, he accepts the consequences of his crimes. He takes responsibility. He needs his words to stand for something. He needs his plight to mean something.

Although he is a widely recognized and well-known hero, he aspires for normalcy. He wants a simple life with privacy, love, and southern comfort (not that kind).

Superman isn’t coming because he’s assimilated into mainstream, western identity and culture. He doesn’t rage against the machine. He doesn’t rally, march, protest, or picket.

He doesn’t stand in solidarity, organize, or mobilize. He doesn’t fight against gentrification, xenophobia, homophobia, racism, or women’s rights. Despite his power, knowledge, and virtue, he isn’t the hero we need.

Superman isn’t coming.

He’s an undocumented refugee who wants nothing more than a simple life and a separate peace.

He would sacrifice himself for the sake of others. He would sacrifice himself to spare the death of innocents, but he doesn’t fight to overcome sociopolitical danger. He doesn’t aspire to end classism or ageism. He won’t prevent war.

Superman isn’t coming, but perhaps this should cause no alarm.

He isn’t the hero we need. For all his ability and might, he doesn’t aspire to be our savior. It’s high time that we stop waiting.

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4 thoughts on “Superman Isn’t Coming

    1. Thanks so much! I’d love to write a book. I’m still in the ideas gathering phase, but I do plan to give myself a cut-off. Force myself to set a start date. How’s your writing?

  1. This was one of my favorite essays. Maybe your book can be a collection of essays, many that you’ve already written. Think about how chicken soup for the soul is all essays. Maybe categorize your favorite pieces and then just keep writing new material for the book that fits in those categories. I don’t think you need a new grand big idea. What you have is great.

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