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The Rise of Unlikely Heroes

September 5, 2017

Original post on 8/3/16 (enliiighten.blogspot.com/)


 

Democracy:

 

A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

 

 

Vigilante:

 

a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.

Any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.

 

Season one of Daredevil was released on Netflix on April, 2015. Upon its release, comic enthusiasts devoured the season, giving it a rise in popularity, even amongst critics. My friend was among this group and recommended I watch it. I was never into comics nor did I know anything about Daredevil besides the movie adaptation featuring Ben Affleck, so it should be no surprise that I was slow to act on his recommendation. Over a year later, the second season has been released, and I was on the front-line of devours this round. Season two brought about a new character, The Punisher, a crowd favorite and my favorite as well--dude is badass. Suffice it to say, I was interested in the show, especially after season two.

 

Before continuing, I will give a brief synopsis of the show, familiarizing those unfamiliar with the franchise--skip to the next paragraph if you are familiarized already. The main character, Daredevil, is a lawyer by day and a crime-fighting hero by night. Motivated by the wave of violence that filled his city, which played a role in the death of his father, his goal is to rid the city of criminals. The new character, the Punisher, was a highly skilled military personnel and now a full-time crime-fighting "hero", whose only mission in life is retribution, following the brutal killing of his family. Both characters share a similar mission for justice but vary in their method. Daredevil finds perpetrators and apprehends them in a manner that is usually forceful but never fatal. Punisher, on the other hand, takes a less "conservative" approach compared to daredevil--he locates perpetrators and decides their fate, which is usually death. Dealing with the same groups of people, bad guys, naturally, both characters paths crossed and brought about opposition. This opposition was a major point of emphasis during the second season but will not be as relevant to this discussion.

 

So, why take the time to explain the plot of this show? And what does this fictional show have to do with democracy? Nothing really--I just think Daredevil is a cool show and I want you guys to feel that way too... Kidding! A little comedic relief to lighten this post (I shouldn't write when I'm hungry, so serious!) Anyways, the point of detailing the show is to make sure we have a mutual understanding before embarking on this leap in comparison I will be making, emphasis on leap. Strap on your seatbelts...

 

This presidential election period has been novel in many ways. For one, history was made with Hillary Clinton becoming the first female presidential nominee and Donald Trump becoming the first non-political nominee in recent times, as far as I know. Also, both nominees are from the same state. In the words of Future Hendrix, "what a time to be alive." Before continuing with the candidates, let's revisit our heroes.

 

Both characters force the viewer to question the definition of law, order, and justice. As I've mentioned, both share the same ultimate goal of ridding the city of crime but differ in their methods. Another quality they share is their status as vigilantes, which is unlawful. They also share similar admiration from the public, many of whom feel that they are doing the job that the police cannot do, hence donning them the title, hero, regardless of their tactics.

 

Amidst the vigilantism and crime is the law enforcement, which I will now address. Even though the heroes were received by the city, the police did not take a liking to them. In fact, the heroes were wanted, which makes sense seeing that they are breaking the law. So, even though the system opposes these heroes, the city has come to appreciate them because they feel the heroes are not bound by the system, allowing them to get things done.

 

Back to the election. While this election period has brought about novelties, it has also exposed the frustration and distrust Americans have for politicians and the system. Arguably, the two most popular candidates were Bernie Sanders and now republican nominee Donald Trump. These two candidates ran on extreme messages that would traditionally be career suicide in politics but garnered admiration from millions. One preached socialism, another is preaching extreme nationalism, amongst other things. Unlike Trump, Bernie Sanders is a seasoned politician, but similarly, their appeal comes largely from their genuineness and dissociation from the political system and traditional politicians. This sentiment is especially emphasized in the republican party, where a seemingly deviant and renegade bested other seasoned politicians by a landslide. Unlike other politicians, people feel these two are genuine and will actually work to accomplish the promises they make. Similar to our heroes, these candidates are polarizing in the public, some favoring them wholeheartedly while others find them disastrous. As we have seen from the email leaks that showed a lack of support from the Democratic National Committee on Sanders' side, and the lack of endorsement and opposition to Trump by Republicans, it is evident the system is not favorable towards them either.

 

Cool story, but what exactly does this have to do with democracy? Like Hell's Kitchen, America is in a place of uneasiness and frustration--frustration from unresolved racial, socioeconomic, diplomatic, and a whole lot of other issues, causing Americans to feel desperate. Many feel these issues stemmed from or involved the government and this election period has provided candidates that embody the frustration and desires many feel, hence, leading to the rise of unlikely candidates.

 

These unlikely candidates are like our vigilantes, providing alternatives that the system would not provide or support.

 

All of these things taken into consideration, I will leave with a final food for thought. Daredevil and The Punisher did not spawn randomly or haphazardly--the perception of an inadequate system, incapable of addressing the issues of their society was the catalyst that brought about those characters. As the New York Post publishes material to taint the image of a candidate, as other news outlets unashamedly display bias and obvious favoritism, as people on social media voice their distaste for the presidential candidates, so do I urge them to channel that same passion and zeal in criticizing the system that has fostered these candidates, because good or bad, presidential candidates are merely a reflection of a democratic society.

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