Wow. One week into 2021, and I’m exhausted.
Yes, we knew flipping the calendar forward a month would do nothing about the issues we face as a nation, but I’m not sure any of us were prepared for what we saw this week. Our nation’s political divide manifested into physical life — and claimed some — when Americans stormed the very bastion of U.S. democracy. And, before the week was out, the U.S. reported a record-high daily death toll — more than 4,000 people dead in just one day from Covid-19.
These are indeed dark days.
It would be easy to let the darkness consume us, to let it overwhelm us. But we mustn’t let it. There is only one way out of this blackened forest, and that is to keep moving forward. Thankfully, there are rays of hope that may shed some light along the way. I found hope in the bipartisan condemnation of the outrageous attack on the U.S. Capitol and in the continued national effort to distribute Covid-19 vaccines.
Each of us will have to find more rays of hope to light the way. Some may find it in holy scriptures. Others may find it in the actions of those working in service to the community, whether elected, appointed or volunteer. Hope does abound.
Those who know me will know I often find hope — silly as it is — in the adventures of my favorite superhero, Superman. The Big Blue Boy Scout has long been the embodiment of hope for DC Comics, even before writer Mark Waid explored that in his 2003 story “Superman: Birthright.” Waid explained that Superman adopted the logo on his chest — his Kryptonian family’s crest — after learning it was a symbol for a better tomorrow. The idea was cemented in the film “Man of Steel” when Superman tells Lois Lane his symbol is not an S, that it means hope.
Various writers over the years have penned some memorable lines for the Man of Tomorrow, and I wanted to take a break from the world’s cacophony to share them with you.
We’ll start with one of my favorites, a quote from Action Comics 775. Superman had just defeated the Elite on Jupiter’s moon Io, and the leader, Manchester Black, tells Superman that if he thinks the fight is over, he’s living in a dream world. And Superman replies: “Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share — I’ll never stop fighting. Ever.”
This quote was pertinent during the summer as racial tensions ran high amid high profile deaths of Black Americans by police officers. During the unrest after the death of George Floyd, DC Comics tweeted that quote. I think it also applies today after the riot in Washington, D.C.
A second quote from Action Comics 775, written by Joe Kelly, also applies to today, regardless of your political persuasion. Superman, again addressing Black, says: “I know there are bad men in power and the world is not an equitable place — but you can’t throw morality in the garbage just because life’s tough!”
Another of my favorites was written by Waid in the beautifully painted story “Kingdom Come.” Speaking to other superheroes rounded up for education and safety, a recording of Superman says: “In this world, there is right and there is wrong, and that distinction is not difficult to make.”
I’ll leave you with one more, this one from “All-Star Superman,” written by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. Superman comes across a troubled teen ready to jump from a rooftop. In an absolutely unforgettable moment, Superman says: “It’s never as bad as it seems. You’re stronger than you think you are. Trust me.”