While many of us know Captain America from the current Marvel Cinematic Universe movies starring Chris Evans, the superhero character has been an iconic comic book character for 79 years.

A superhero with the name "Captain America" who wears a red, white, and blue uniform and fights for freedom naturally invokes a sense of patriotism. However, not everyone who considers themselves a "patriot" can truly claim the title.

The son of one of Captain America's co-creators has some harsh words for those who have co-opted Captain America symbolism in their support of Donald Trump and the storming of the Capitol by his followers. Neal Kirby, the son of Jack Kirby, who created the character with Joe Simon in 1941, aimed his message directly at the rioters.

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Canva, Rep. Jame Comer/Twitter, Congressman Ted Budd/Twitter

A common refrain we're hearing from politicians and pundits who insist on denying current reality is that leadership right now needs to focus on "lowering the temperature."

You know, in case a violent mob decides to storm the Capitol or something.

From lawmakers the past couple of days:

"Trying to impeach a President with less than 10 days left in office is the worst way to lower the temperature in our country. If Democrats say they want unity, this isn't the way to show it." – Congressman Ted Bud (R-NC)

"I've reached out to President-elect Biden today & plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature & unite the country to solve America's challenges." – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

"I am opposed to yet another impeachment of President Trump by Nancy Pelosi that will further inflame tensions in America. We need to lower the temperature and unify Americans behind issues we can all agree on." – Congressman James Comer (R-KY)

And watch Fox News' Brian Kilmeade use the same language:

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In October, the Washington Post shared an updated count of the lies or misleading claims President Trump has made since he was elected. The count, as of August 27, was 22,247 claims in 1,316 days. Why did the count only go through August? Because the president's pace had accelerated to more than 50 lies or misleading claims per day, and the fact-checking team couldn't keep up.

And it's not just the Washington Post. Fact checkers across the media landscape have repeatedly lamented that it's impossible to keep up.

All politicians stretch the truth sometimes, some more often or egregiously than others. But the frequency, nature, and shamelessness of President Trump's lying is in an entirely separate category than most politicians. This is not an opinion or even a judgment; it's an axiomatic fact.

The problem is, a shocking number of people overlook his lies, believe his lies, or in some cases, even love his lies. Opportunistic politicians and idealogues have seen him rise to power through lies, have seen the adulation he receives from his base for his lies, and have decided it's worth it to hitch their wagon to his lies. That's largely how we've ended up here, in a broken government and political culture where the president's supporters rally behind the lie that he won the election with a not-insignificant number of them willing to die or kill to defend that lie.

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Here in the U.S. many of us had our eyes glued to the news yesterday as a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, disrupting a constitutionally-mandated session of Congress and sending lawmakers into hiding. We watched insurrectionists raise a Trump flag on the outside of the building, flinched at the Confederate flag being marched through its hallowed halls, and witnessed the desecration of our democracy in real-time.

It was a huge and horrifying day in our history. Our own citizens attacking our own government, all because the president refuses to accept that he lost an election. In their minds, they are patriots defending democracy from an illegitimate election. In reality, they are terrorists destroying the foundations of what makes America great.

The disconnect between what these people believe and actual reality could not be starker. Years of misinformation and disinformation, bald-faced lie upon bald-faced lie, and conspiracy theory upon conspiracy theory have led to this place. It was predictable. It should have been preventable. But it was still stunning to witness.

As an American, it's a little hard to digest in its entirety. We've been in this weird space of "alternative facts" for years, and have grown accustomed to hearing blatant lies pushed as truth. We've gotten used to being gaslit daily, from the highest office in the land. That constant deluge of falsehood has an effect on our psyches, whether we fall on the side of eating it up like candy or spitting it out like the poison it is.

So seeing what happened at the Capitol through the eyes of another country's media is really something.

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