Listen to me — all of you out there!
You were told by this man — your hero — that America is the greatest country in the world!
He told you that Americans were the greatest people — that America could be refined like silver, could have the impurities hammered out of it, and shine more brightly!
He went on about how precious America was — how you needed to make sure it remained great!
And he told you anything was justified to preserve that great treasure, that pearl of great price that is America!
Well, I say America is nothing!! Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!
A nation is nothing! A flag is a piece of cloth!
I fought Adolf Hitler not because America was great, but because it was fragile! I knew that liberty could be snuffed out here as in Nazi Germany! As a people, we were no different than them!
When I returned, I saw that you nearly did turn American into nothing!
And the only reason you’re not less then nothing —
— is that it’s still possible for you to bring freedom back to America!
-Captain America, What If? #44 by Peter B. Gillis, Sal Buscema, and Dave Simons. 1984.