During a recent press event, a 9 year-old boy asked Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Perry which superhero he would be. Perry’s response:
"I’m going to show you my age a little bit, Ari, because I don’t know any of the real current superheroes, but there was one back in my day named Superman, and Superman came to save the United States."
This is, of course, of no surprise. I mean, which candidate wouldn’t choose Superman? He’s a popular, straight, white, able-bodied male who is, unlike most politicians, humble and uninterested in glory or monetary gain for his effort. Above all, Superman fights for "truth, justice and the American way." Clearly, he’s got presidential appeal.
But, unlike Rick Perry, Superman cannot run for President because he is not a native-born U.S. citizen. No, Superman came to the country as an undocumented immigrant.
Jay Smooth, founder of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI’s Underground Railroad, was quick to note this in a video on his sharply funny Ill Doctrine blog. Smooth outlines how the story of Superman (who was sent to Earth by his parents who sought a better life for their son) parallels that of many undocumented immigrants.
"He loves America so much that he…stepped up to do all the hardest, most back-breaking work that no one else was willing to do so that he could be part of America. And in turn, we as Americans were able to look past whatever circumstances brought him to this nation of immigrants…and embrace Superman as one of our own…
I mean, in that fictional world. None of that stuff’d happen in real life."
True. Because there are people like Superman in "real life," undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. seeking a better life, who work as reporters, who save the lives of their neighbors, who do work that improves quality of life for all of us and are not regarded as heroes by a large section of the U.S. public, and certainly not by many who support Rick Perry’s candidacy.
Undocumented immigrants seek basic human dignity and respect. That’s something Rick Perry, and all presidential candidates, should take note of.