Musing Mondays: Make America “Great” Again

In light of Trump missing the latest GOP debate, and because I recently watched the most terrifying video clip from CNN interviewing three adorably naive 18 year olds about why they’re voting for Trump, I thought I’d get a little political with you for a minute.

Normally, I try to avoid overtly political posts here, because this isn’t a blog that has a liberal or conservative agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have strong opinions about a lot of things, including politics, but this blog isn’t about politics. And frankly, I don’t take the time to keep up with every idiot who decides to run for president to really have a justifiably strong opinion to share with you. What I can tell you is this: Trump’s motto, his whole campaign platform, ‘Make America Great Again’ is wrong.

But Tasha, how can a campaign slogan, that states no facts, be wrong?

Well, let’s break it down here: ‘Make America Great Again’ has two connotations. First, it implies that America is not great. Okay, well you have me there. This is a completely unmeasurable assumption based on opinion that can neither be confirmed nor denied. It is entirely possible that America is, in fact, not great. However, ‘Make America Great Again’ also implies that there was, at one point, a time in which America was great. While this, too, is an entirely unmeasurable assumption with no solidified dates to point us to a time in which we can say, “Ahh, yes, I remember [insert designated date], America was great then,” we can break this down a little bit further.

Let’s start first by asking what we mean by ‘great’. What is great? When we say America is great, to what are we referring? Are we discussing America’s financial success? The morale of the American population? America’s standard of living? America’s military dominance? Any combination of those things? As you can see, we’re already running into problems because there is simply no way to know what it is exactly that Trump’s campaign slogan is referring to. But, just for kicks, let’s try and ride this logic train all the way through to the station.

Let’s assume that ‘Make America Great Again’ is referring to America’s financial greatness. Seems logical enough, given that Trump is a business man who has made his fortune playing the capitalist game in corporate America. This assumption is further supported by the fact that much of Trump’s campaign has played into his successes in the private sector, distinguishing his experience running businesses from your average politician who only has experience, you know, running parts of the government.

So, when has America been financial great? Economics is a horridly depressing subject and way too complicated for me to understand and put into layman’s terms here, but for the sake of being simple, let’s guess. Are we talking about 1980’s during the era of Reaganomics, which are still highly esteemed by many conservatives but ultimately proved to be short-sighted and short-lived as the market fell in the 2000’s?  Could we be discussing the Boomer economy of the 1950’s, which rode the money wave out of an era of war and accelerated invention into an era of blue collar jobs? How about the Roaring ’20’s–we all know how that ended. Some earlier time perhaps, not in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries? FUN FACT: America as a country has always been in debt, ever since the revolution. Google it. Thanks, Obama.

Okay, so if we’re not talking about America’s greatness as a fiscally responsible country, are we talking about America’s military dominance? Does that really make us great? Certainly it was great that we were able to help Europe (which had already done most of the work by the time we got there, fyi) beat Hitler. Phew, that certainly was a close one! But does it make us “great” that we’ve been single-handedly responsible for the military intervention and disruption of several governing states’ autonomies? America was universally founded upon one belief: We don’t like other people ordering us around and generally being all up in our business. I mean, we freak out the second we think our “secure” borders are at risk, to the point where we’re willing to look the other way while we let our president listen in on all of our phone calls. (I bet Bush has some pretty juicy secrets to share from it, too.) Are we great for being big whopping hypocrites? Most of these military interventions wind up blowing up in our faces, anyways. (Research Vietnam, or just watch the end of Charlie Wilson’s War.)

So if not military dominance, then what makes us great? I could go around and around discussing how every historical aspect of a specific period of time in America’s history is both good and bad, but I don’t want to bore you with too many generalizations*. Instead, I’ll let you in on a secret about a fallacy that many of us (including myself) have fallen prey to: There has never been a “Golden Era” of time in which America–or the world in general, for that matter–has been “great”. Every century, every decade, every year has its ups and downs, its different problems faced.

So don’t be victim to the naive–and frankly, prejudiced–view of the world that Donald Trump, and every politician tries to paint for you. And the end of the day, they’re all just salesmen trying to sell you different products in the same ways. Take the time to wade through all of the bullshit.

*I realize I have not provided you with any facts here to back up my claims. The truth is, I didn’t want to take the time. This isn’t a scholarly article. I’m just trying to get to a singular point here. But if you’re really dying for some facts, feel free to Google anything and everything that I’ve talked about here. You’ll be much smarter than me by the time you’re through, and definitely a more well-informed voter come the next election. And if you find any glaringly wrong generalizations, comment below. I’d love to be more informed, myself.

-tlc

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