Tonight a thought blossomed in my head whose seed was planted the Saturday afternoon that I saw The Dark Knight. And if you couldn’t infer it from the title, that thought is this:
This whole election is The Bridge Choice.
The Bridge Choice has a long history in comics. It starts with Spider-Man and Gwen Stacey, but TDK gave it a new spin: participatory justice. The Joker offers two very different sections of Gothamites the opportunity to eliminate one another, thereby saving their own skins. And while this may seem like a very simple (if cruel) game, it’s really about judgment, about who is worthy to live and who is worthy to choose, and how much power anyone should ever have over others. It’s about identity. It’s about belief and trust and hope. It’s about the way we perceive the world and how we think about the future.
This is how it breaks down:
Villains think that things can always get worse, that people are fundamentally selfish and scared, and that we can bank on this fact.
Heroes think that the potential for selflessness and sacrifice lies in all of us, and that when the chips are down we can rely on the ability of our fellow men and women to choose the best, not just for themselves but for their fellow human beings.
Let’s not prove Batman wrong, people.