When you see photographs of the five living former Presidents uniting, as they often have recently, there are three ways to look at the photo:
- To be happy to see them all together and uniting as Americans to achieve a common goal,
- To be mad that they undermine President Trump by reminding us that America used to not be a cesspool of hate, or
- Think “Holy crap! What if they were like the Planeteers and, by their powers combined, they could produce something that could battle those attempting to destroy our nation?”
I think it’s clear what my reaction was.
We absolutely can’t use the same elements from the Captain Planet series, because then they’d be uniting to make Captain Planet. We’re not really looking to save the world at this point – we’re starting smaller by saving America. So we need to decide what “elements” we would use to make up Colonel America…
…Okay, we also need to figure out a good name for the combination of their abilities. Captain America, the obvious parallel to Captain Planet, is already taken; General America sounds like a vague concept of America instead of someone capable of battling evil, so I’ve settled on Colonel America. If you have a better one, tweet me with your improved names at @BeaudryDFW. Secondly, we need to know which former President to assign to each element. It was easier for me to come up with elements if I had a President in mind for each element.
Here’s what I’ve settled on as the best possible element/President matches:
If you ask any American what the first word that comes to mind is when they think of America, a majority will say “Freedom!” I don’t know if that’s because we’ve just done such a good job of telling ourselves we’re so free or if because we actually are pretty free, but there’s no way we can create a Colonel America (again, pending name change) without it. I’m aware that the Patriot Act and other legislation makes my pick for this element contradictory, but c’mon, if you’re going to associate a President with someone arbitrarily yelling “Freedom!” Dubya is the guy immediately coming to mind.
Sure, we’ve never really achieved this, but it’s an ideal we’ve had since the founding of the nation. We wanted to get rid of the class system we’d inherited from the English, which never really happened, and our leaders probably never REALLY wanted to get rid of it (people in power tend to opt to keep it). But since we’re supposed to be making the union more perfect, it’s something we’re called to work on.
Obviously here, we’re picking the first Bu…no, of course we’re picking Obama. Not because of his own color making him the first black President, which would be the surface-level, basic person reason for putting him in this slot, but because his Administration produced several moves toward equality. From marriage equality to DACA to women being allowed to serve in combat roles, Americans were more socially equal to each other than ever.
Okay, we’re supposed to be crowning our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea, so I’m using this. After looking at the first three options, it seems I’ve ripped off the French motto (taken from their own revolution) of “Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité” and converting it to more “American” terms.
Using this option allows me to use OG Bush and Clinton together. They already (SHOULD HAVE) had their own buddy reality show going on during the Bush II and Obama Presidencies, so it’s natural to have them represent brotherhood. A Republican and a Democrat that campaigned against one another and can still be friends and both support America together? Done. And, y’know, if anyone decides to spin them off into their own cartoon, I’m good with that.
I managed to get four of the former Presidents into three categories, with one President sitting out there all alone, just like the original Planeteers managed to get all of nature’s elements into four people with a five-person crew. That means we have to shove someone into the last category, which will always seem like the cheesiest and worst one, but is actually maybe the best. Much like Heart is really an incredibly powerful element, especially among people, Dream encompasses hope and the idea that we’re constantly working to obtain a better future for ourselves and for America as a whole. Dream is what makes the whole damn thing work and keep growing through time.
President Carter, already kind of the outsider of the group due to the years he was President being separated from the others (by Reagan, who is dead, so he can’t participate in this), is also the best possible representative for Dream. The dude came up on a one-acre peanut farm, actually lived on government assistance for a while, and eventually became a successful farmer and President. He also continually works to improve others’ lives through Habitat for Humanity and is generally thought of as a good dude, if not a great President.
Great! Now we have the…Americaneers? Dammit, we need to work on that name, too.
Finally, who’s the villain? In case it wasn’t obvious who the villain was…he was also a villain in Captain Planet. And I’m not even the first one to notice the similarities:
Let’s save America from Hoggish Greedly, Americaneers. With your powers combined…let’s unleash Colonel America.
Ugh, that sentence would be so much better if I had better names for the group and the superhero they create. Please help me out with better names at @BeaudryDFW.