Donald Trump was very successful in obtaining the GOP Presidential candidacy, using his slogan, “Make America Great Again.” This is a great, albeit vapid, slogan, but with a worthy goal. It brings up two questions:
When was America Great, and what made it Great?
Can past glory be recreated? Is this a call for Reactionaries? Or can Greatness be reformulated to meet today’s need for Greatness?
Personally, I’m not much of a history buff, so both the first question and the call to arms for reactionaries doesn’t feel relevant for today and therefore doesn’t have any appeal for me.
However, what could make America Great again is an important question that should resound with any U.S., citizen. Acceptance of a declining and failing state not only feeds into the agenda of those who are profiting from America’s decline, but also inevitably results in a loss of hope for the future.
So what can we do to #Make America Great Again? First, it is essential to understand why America isn’t “Great.” A list of the obvious top reasons should include at least the following:
- Education. What are some of the correctable reasons for the very poor performance of our educational system relative to other industrialized nations?
- Government. It is a nearly unanimous opinion that our democratic system has been overrun by money and is highly dysfunctional. The primary campaigns of both Trump and Sanders demonstrate that a large percentage of the population want change, but the details are very unclear. A democracy is a form of government where everyone can vote their vested interest, but in its degenerated state, elected representatives mostly follow the sources of money they need to get re-elected.
- Economy. Every dollar spent by the government is taken from a tax or fee. If America is Great, then its citizens should be happy. This means that the vast majority can afford the taxes and still have a satisfactory life. Thsi is difficult when out of work or when working a lot but still not making ends meet. If America was great, it was probably due to manufacturing and other businesses that provided workers with a sufficient income to foster a strong middle class. A return to manufacturing as a source for greatness is unlikely, so what is next?
- Medical Coverage. Can America be Great if a substantial portion of the population, including a large portion of those who are working, cannot obtain adequate health coverage? Does the for-profit healthcare provider model work adequately, even as modified by Obamacare?
- Foreign Affairs. The U.S. has by far, the world’s largest military, and uses it daily. Is being the World’s police and reaction force what makes America Great? Does the Foreign Aid budget make America Great? Currently this does not seem to be the case, but it may have been previously – why?
- Military. Is the very large budget for the military what makes America Great? The military comprises 1/6 to 1/5 of the government’s expenditures. Is this sustainable in the changing economy? What are the alternatives?
- Religion. Was past ‘Greatness’ based on religion or religious freedom or no government-sanctioned religion?
These are some of the topics that should be addressed if we are serious about #Making America Great. Dialogs about many of these topics very often degenerate into slogans, vague assertions, camera sound-bites and dogma. However, change does not occur by itself. To #Make America Great (again), it is necessary to rationally evaluate where America is now. Is this even possible in today’s partisan, opinionated America?