Make America Great Again
The political slogan above, shortened to MAGA, which adorns red hats and flags, is a rallying cry for a large segment of the American population.
It is both a declarative, and more importantly, a comparative statement.
It is comparing America of today, to some bygone era deemed to be ”Great”. And it urges a glorious return.
But a return to which one, exactly? And from whose perspective shall we determine “greatness”?
Ask a Native American which Great America they yearn for. Which era makes them all warm and fuzzy?
Ask the descendant of slaves. I would love to hear which Great America they consider worthy of a sequel.
And if we could go back in history, we could ask the child-laborers and underpaid workers who ground out 80 hour work weeks to enrich monopolistic Robber Barons if they would advise a return to their time of Greatness.
Skipping ahead, the Word War II generation is deservedly referred to as the Greatest Generation, but I don’t know any of them who feel they’d want to live through WWII again.
If you think about it, it’s difficult to know just where the Make America Great time machine should pull into the station.
Maybe we pull up to the curb at the Great America of the 50’s…Ugggh…height of the Cold War with the existential threat of Nuclear Armageddon. Pass…
The 60’s?…cool music, but an assassinated president, Vietnam, Kent State, segregation, race riots, murder of Dr. King? Let’s keep looking…
The 70’s?…Watergate, Iran hostage crisis, Oil embargoes…
The 80’s?…not that far to backtrack, nothing particularly glaring, but nothing particularly great either, unless we all keep watching replays of the Miracle On Ice…
The 90’s?…same as the 80’s to me, but nothing worth a return trip.
You head to the 2000’s and get housing crashes, corporate bail-outs, a multi-decades long war on terror, and the loss of more privacy and individual liberty than in the history of the nation. MAGA must have some other America in mind.
My view is that the Civil War was America’s greatest era. It was the time when we struggled with what kind of a nation we would be. A time when we struggled to the death to put actions to our founding document’s inspirational, but un-manifest words. But I sure don’t want us to go back there. And I don’t think that’s what the MAGA crowd envisions either. I’m just not sure what they have in mind.
You may read this and think I don’t love America. You can think what you want. I’m not afraid to love something that’s flawed.
Many people believe this country has never been great. I am in a camp that believes it has had some wonderful flashes of Greatness. But I’m not afraid to say America has NEVER been all it CAN BE. And I’m not afraid to love it enough, and believe in it enough, to reject anything less as unworthy of her. If we can pull together and Make America Great Once…then, sometime in the way-off future those red hats might actually mean something.