Let’s dispense with the nostalgia of America’s glory days when “we were great”.
Great for whom? The farther back you go into US history, you can’t really find a specific example of a time that was great for all and even less so replicable in today’s day and age.
During the founding and expansion of the USA, Americans were responsible for the direct and indirect mass genocide of millions of Native Americans.
Was this great for the colonist sure, but not for native peoples. Do we want to go back to that?
America enjoyed tremendous economic growth with the practice of slavery and it can be argued that America’s prosperity today was only possible due to the free labor slaves provided. Do we want to go back to that?
In the industrial revolution, America again enjoyed unprecedented economic growth but it was through the exploitation of cheap labor and automation, where upward mobility for the working class was virtually impossible and wealth was concentrated in the hands of a small group of industrialists. Do we want to go back to that?
The time of post war prosperity, the Golden Years is what many refer to when making America great. Yet, that prosperity was directly a result of the war oversees in Europe that America profited off of. Do we want that to happen again?
Following the post war boom, the middle class rose but there was a tremendous amount of social injustice. Women, homosexuals, and racial minorities did not enjoy basic equal rights. Do we want to go back to that?
Apparently many people do, Make America Great Again puts a thin veil on top of the ugliness that permeates American history.
We do not want to go back to that.
America has been steadily making advances, both great and small in period following WWII and it has been getting better with dips along the way, but there was never a time when things were “great”. Every post war decade had major problems.
Harkening back to the nostalgia of some former glory years ignores and minimizes those important advances and incites a willful ignorance of the negatives.
In short, America was never great and the hubris that it was, is a dangerous belief system to adopt, as it directs the conscious towards an unrepeatable past and avoids the difficult practical questions of the future.
Trump campaigned on a populist agenda that appealed to a disenfranchised group that bought his promises and you can’t blame them. Economically disenfranchised white Americans had been ignored by mainstream political parties for sometime, promised change by the establishment that would never come, while also increasingly being reminded about their white privilege, a privilege that was hardly noticeable.
In hindsight it becomes much easier to track back at the rise of Trump to see how he became the US president. The timing was right for a candidate like him, a perceived outsider populist. He happened to fill the void.
Upon his taking office, the executive branch of government has been nothing short of soap opera and America loves to tune in every day to get the latest gossip.
Credit to Trump for actually being able to take his unique brand of snake oil salesmanship and unquestionably shady practices to exploit the arguably most powerful position in the world.
The unfortunate consequence is there is a bull loose in the china shop and he is doing a tremendous amount of damage to international goodwill and further dividing a country which really needs to be more united if it seeks to remain a super power.
Russian and Chinese governments are doing everything to exploit a man who is way out of his league dealing with the vastly complex world of geo-politics, super powers and international economics.
The aforementioned regimes have held power over countries that are extremely difficult to govern for decades, they have seen foreign leaders come and go and their ability to act without ethics to achieve their objectives has helped expand their global power.
Whatever your political affiliation, I think we can all agree America can do better.
With a population of 325 million, surely there are better candidates than Trump?
Yet, but the political mechanisms favor establishment candidates. This is partly the tragedy of Trump, there was a window for a competent reformer, but we got Trump.
The symbiotic relationship between money and politics in the USA is sickening. It’s transparently pay to pay politics. Corruption exists in gerrymandering, the electoral college, lobbying, the parties themselves and the entire process needs to seriously be reevaluated.
And yet, this is what Trump may inadvertently do.
Throughout history, human evolution has gone through ebbs and flows, highs and lows. However, we have ultimately been getting better, though it may be hard to see in the current climate.
On a cosmic scale we are in our infancy as a species, there is so much more room for us to grow.
Trump’s presidency may be just the catalyst to engage Americans to demand institutional changes in our government.
A sort of “never again” moment. Only time will tell.
The founding fathers created this country with the intention the governments can change and can be dynamic. We have strayed a long way from the Constitutional Republic they envisioned and even if “Make America Great Again” was a call to those noble principals, one has to ask, did our ideas of good government not evolve at all since 1776?
We have the ability as a country to reinvent, reimagine and repurpose our political system as we see fit.
It is easy to get caught in the trap of this is how things are, the status quo of the establishment. Yet, in life change is the only constant.