if people i know online met me in person they’d be surprised by several things like
- my height
- my voice
- exactly how annoying i can be
steve rogers and the split between himself and the image of captain america, his broken identity, because for years before the ice he first wanted to be a part of the war effort and then turned in to the perfect poster boy, and then the commander of a special ops team - so much of him has been consumed by his identity tied with war so
he gets to the 21st century and politics doesn’t seem so far removed from when he was a soldier, and most importantly, he can separate the two - he can still be a soldier but now he’s done all of his homework, stood at the other end of his century and looked back on politics and shifting social stands and he’s furious there are things that are still issues now, that after the depression there are people still adamantly fighting free healthcare, that roosevelt scraped it in the 30s and truman tried again after the war, that there’s been such a push for free healthcare and such tiny concessions have been made here and there, that people were so violently against anything that was universal because it would have been a communist idea (which is absolutely ABSURD to steve, he literally laughs when he watches a video of a deposition in which mccarthy interrogated someone, he outright laughed)
steve sees all these ideas implemented that were such incredible ideas but failed so spectacularly, the poverty level is absolutely absurd because all it is is an arbitrary number but there will always be poverty because there will always be an income that is lesser than, minimum wage is such a brilliant concept that steve loves, literally just loves, when he reads about it, because he remembers how difficult it was for his mother to make rent, how she worked her fingers to the bone and made a thousand dollars a year, how bucky worked fifty hour work weeks after his mom passed and the fierce look on his face when steve insisted that he pick up hours where he could as well even if it interfered with art school. how bucky fought tooth and nail to keep his job at the butcher’s delivery because it meant he could bring home the excess meat, the throw away scraps, so they could have roast for the first time in months.
he’s appalled that unions have such a backhanded effect now, that unions were flagging and failing when he was a teenager and he could hear the collective sigh of relief when the wagner act went through, when suddenly their employers had to bargain with them, were held to good faith, that people who fought so hard and rioted could now set their own standard. and now there are outrageous union fees, now there’s an us vs them mentality instead of sitting down at the same table and shaking hands together. riots were contained by soldiers and bullshit injunctions, and now those looking for workplace reform are mocked by the media, looked at as biting the hand that feeds.
his mother was so scorned and looked down upon when he was a child for not giving up her job so a man returning from war could take it, and had it taken from her anyway and given to one anyway. and then as the 20s blurred in to the 30s she was hated for not losing her accent, for keeping their apartment closer to the irish community, and now the same goddamn thing is done to immigrants, still paid shit because employers think they’ll take anything, hated and isolated and scorned, their culture snuffed out by the heavy boot of american conformity and fitting in, and steve wants to shout about history and it’s attraction to walls and separation. about sheep. about political parties that fight to stamp out individualism.
steve sees how easily, how fucking easily, people look to media and see no one like them sees no representation and how easily they’re discouraged and hurt and recognizes the fact that he looks like just another oppressor to most so tries to put as much meaning and importance in his words as possible. understands that he has an obligation due to his position to fight with those who are constantly fighting themselves, but knows when to listen and defer to those people. learns how to amplify, not speak over, those voices.
there’s just so much that was supposed to’ve changed and it didn’t always change in a good way, and he realizes it’s the same shit different decade. but, he’s brought with him this attitude of fighting, of putting up your fists even when you’ve spent so long swinging that your knuckles are swollen and bloody. that’s what he learned, that’s how he lived, and now a desire for social reform is laughed at by the older generation, by the children of his generation, now they look at twentysomethings and think of them as useless, sees them as not backing their mouths up with actions, only sitting around and complaining. and steve rogers is still technically a twentysomething. and steve rogers backs up his ideals with action.
so steve now is two separate people (though later, much later, when he sees how his image had been abducted by conservatives, by bullies, to keep others down, he starts to fight to take back that image) who can turn away from how things are and turn towards how things can be.
so steve rogers puts up with attacks from news circuits, online articles that are copied and reposted and rewritten to say the same thing over and over and over, sees his face with his cowl pulled back under the headline “taking cap out of capitalism: is captain america a socialist?” (frowns and says that isn’t even clever, and sam snorts and says yes it is), argues that minimum wage is ineffective because a person can not survive on it anymore and those who decide what that wage is set at are people who have never had to survive on it. reveals the full extent of his medical history to argue that healthcare is a right, not a exclusive bidding war, that someone out there suffering under the weight of a body that does not match their heart and ambition does not have the benefit of a super serum like he does, deserves the opportunity to be as healthy as he is. steve rogers makes sure everyone knows who peggy carter is, what she did, speaks out against street harassment and spends his own money on keychain mace to hand out on campuses conceding that he would “like to live in a world where ladies don’t need this, but i want you to have it if you ever do.”
steve rogers gets in to debates about the importance of art and music in public school, about student debt and how capitalism has warped the higher education system, steve rogers gives interviews where he spends more time talking about the importance of natural, locally grown produce and discussing the benefits of healthy vegetarianism and veganism because fuck, he practically was an accidental vegetarian before enlisting because of how expensive meat was, and how he would be now if he didn’t need fucking 20,000 calories a day, is embarrassed when he’s praised for cognitive dissonance because it’s not that hard, to see the other side of things.
gets angry, gets truly angry about cops not held to a moral standard and accountability when he sees protests turned violent by a police baton or a tear gas launcher. when he hears about kids shot in the back as they walk away from those given even a modicum of control. almost joins in with protests, but stops and thinks of the image he has to uphold, thinks of media backlash, thinks of how he doesn’t care but sam stops him anyway by telling him that it’s sometimes better to let people fight their own battle, that they can handle themselves.
steve rogers is a dirty liberal who supports his community and cooks with a soup kitchen, takes food to a squatters community who have inhabited an abandoned building, helps them when they want to become legitimate and they approach him with their blueprints, their budgeting, bright with desire, asks him to help with the roofing because it’s about to cave towards the back.
steve rogers is a liberal socialist who fights for radical reform, who continues to hate bullies, no matter where they come from, steve rogers recognizes he now has a voice and sees how important his voice is when used for individual freedom and activism, is accused of turning his back on being captain america one day when a microphone is in front of him and he’s across a table from eric bolling on the five (a fox panel debate show), and steve’s jaw tightens and he says, “i would rather not fight but sometimes, someone has to or no one will. i fight for how things should be, not to preserve how things are.”