The above commentary is much closer to my reading of Steve Rogers than the OP’s meta. (I apologize in advance if I diverge too far from the above commenters’ interpretations of canon.) While I agree on a Watsonian level that “Steve isn’t a Greatest Generation man because he hasn’t lived enough to romanticize that period”, on a Doylist level that doesn’t even matter because Steve Rogers is fandom’s Greatest Generation man. He’s our romantic fantasy of What America Should Be, and CA:TWS is our white liberal fantasy of how we can “fix” our broken society. (Hint: it starts with fixing a man’s disabilities until he embodies Hitler’s Aryan ideal. It’s okay, it’s ~ironic. Step two: give him the respect owed to a WWII veteran without him having actually fought in WWII.)
I don’t disagree with anything Steve Rogers says or does in CA:TWS, but I’m frustrated by comparisons of Steve vs Fury that ignore race and historical context. We’ve already established that Steve has absolutely jack shit to do with WWII. What can he possibly say about freedom that an African-American man who lived through the Civil Rights era couldn’t say better? It’s extremely problematic, IMHO, to position Steve as “pro-freedom” and Fury as “anti-freedom”. The only Latino character is retconned as a double-agent for a white supremacist regime. Howard Stern, a Jewish-American politician (“Stern” is predominately a Jewish last name), is a card-carrying Nazi. Add all this with the Age of Ultron spoiler that the Jewish-Roma children of two Holocaust survivors have apparently cooperated with HYDRA, and honestly — I’m not shocked that there are people confused about which character is the Nazi, Sam Wilson or Grant Ward.
When I say “representation matters”, I don’t just mean having a solo female superhero film or more characters of colour — I mean changing the way these stories are being told, changing which characters get to play which roles, changing who gets to speak for me, who gets to be “right”, who gets to take action and be the hero. Just watch the news and tell me that CA:TWS is a story that’s a genuine reflection of our world’s problems, rather than an oversimplified version which conveniently exchanges an old white man as political authority for a young white man as moral authority. Tell me that black and Latino men are the ones banging the drums for more militarization, more surveillance, more violations of their human rights, and that young white men are the ones clamouring for a revolution. As much as I love Steve Rogers, he’s become a white liberal fantasy that potentially undermines the voices of minority groups, and I’m really really glad that Sam Wilson will be Captain America soon — not stuck as the Model Minority who does what Steve does, just slower. It’s about damn time that we can hold up someone other than a white guy and say, “Listen, that’s our Captain speaking, the man who embodies freedom and justice. This man is everything America should strive to become, this is the leader we need to follow, and nobody else can compare.”