“Mr. Sandman, Bring Me A Reality”
I work for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. When our Chief Equity Officer learned that we both share a love of comic books, he asked if he could post an opinion editorial, and I was happy to oblige. Ladies and Gentlemen, the following words are from Dr. John Marshall.
One of DC Comics’ most nebulous, but longstanding characters is the Sandman. Throughout the span of the comics, The Sandman has been affiliated with altering the behaviors of criminals by entering or controlling their dreams and redirecting their behaviors. As America and the world grapple with racial tension and justice, it seems fertile and almost necessary to upend repetitive and almost daily relived nightmarish histories and present-day injustices with a hero that has the powers to build ‘good’ dreams into reality.
One of the known nemeses of the Sandman is The Nightmare Wizard. Through mind control and intoxicating falsities that entangle minds to the point that the victims of this hateful hypnosis kill others and sometimes themselves, the Nightmare Wizard spellbinds people to sabotage sensibility. Presently, there is nothing more binary than nightmares and good dreams. Beyond the clichè of good versus evil and right versus wrong, the peculiarity of these two characters nestles deep into the core of Gotham and ‘Everytown’ USA. Do we have a right to think and believe what we want? Can one person’s dream be another person’s nightmare?
The Sandman was named an honorary member of the Justice League in the 1983 arc written by Paul Levitz and Len Wein. He was a member of the Justice Society, which first appeared in the 1940s. It is this membership, although fictional, I believe needs more realistic attention. Since justice embraces good dreams void of brutality, racism, and murder, DC affirms that dreams and acts of violence cannot be in halls and departments of justice. Be that as it may, the nightmares of conditional justice and “comply or die” mentality seem to be winning the Battle Royale of righteousness.
We need a Sandman of King’s Dream and Ghandi-like gaul. A justice league that is never conditional, but always consistent for all that is supposedly under the arc of justice. The Sandman can reprogram minds that misunderstand, mistreat, and/or misgauge others. A Justice League that polices instead protects and defends death as opposed to loving lives, needs to wake up. We need a Sandman to bring us out of the slumber and awaken a Gotham/America that has never been great – but could be.
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