Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A newly elected city councilman in California paid tribute to one of his heroes by holding a replica Captain America shield as he was sworn in.
San Jose City Councilman Lan Diep, 32, shared a photo of himself holding the red, white and blue shield as he raised his hand to take the oath of office at his first city council meeting.
"My first council meeting. They made me take the oath again," he wrote.
Diep, a Republican, described himself as a comics nerd and told the Mercury News he considers Captain America the "embodiment of America's ideals."
"These are the same ideals I hope to live up to as a representative of San Jose," he said. "Plus, I had this really cool shield I wanted to show off."
The shield is one of only 1,000 limited edition movie-prop replicas from the film Captain America: The First Avenger, which Diep decided to dig out of his closet for the meeting.
"I already had my group swearing in, and that was official. That one goes to the state," he told the Washington Post. "And I had this really cool shield that I never get to show anybody. One of the most patriotic things that you can do is get involved in democracy."
Diep said the idea came to him of using the shield to brighten up the contentious state of American politics.
"I don't want people to assume I assigned more forethought and meaning to this than I did," he said. "The political landscape as of late has been gloomy. I just wanted to bring a moment of levity to the proceedings."
He assured he remains committed to taking on the city's serious issues with the appropriate amount of respect and hopes the attention brought on by the stunt can encourage more people to engage in politics.
"I take the job seriously, of course," Diep said. "I take myself less seriously. I'm not above entertaining people in hopes that they will wade through the policy discussions."