as one of a hundred kabillion bloggers to make a post about it, I don't really feel like waxing long or super eloquent about it. So I'll try to be quick and punchy about it.
Rest In Peace, Cap.
I was never a fan of Captain America. But I liked him anyways. I found him often boring and moral, but I enjoyed that someone boring and moral was really looked up to in the Marvel Universe as a leader- a kind of fantasy within a fantasy. But as the Marvel Universe changes to reflect our times, it's clear to me that there is no better time for Captain America to die.
Cap, in the MU, represents a living reminder of a time when we were unified- we had a common purpose. In my lifetime, only the aftermath of 9/11 briefly recreated a shadow of this unity. Now, 5 1/2 years later, America is more bitterly divided as a whole, rotten to the core with apathy, and wrangled forcibly in the directions of the few by those with an unlimited greed for money and power. The dream is, in many ways, dead- at least, further away than it has ever been. We hardly even seem to appreciate or love our symbols of unity anymore- sometimes lashing out against them. With our sense of unity and purpose gone, what does Captain America represent? Nothing but history. And to History he is now committed.
In a purely pragmatic sense, people will say "He'll be back". Yes, he will. Someday. You can, if you so choose, look into the crystal ball and dismiss what is going on in the now. Instead, you can look at comics in the now- and Right Now Cap is dead- and see if you actually like the stories being told.
Make Mine Marvel.