GrassTopsUSA Exclusive Commentary
By Don Feder
January 16, 2017
As campaign slogans go, Trump's "Make America Great Again" wasn't bad – especially compared to the Queen of Thorns' "Better Together" (With Hill, it's always about the collective.) But more than two months after the 2016 campaign ended, even Trump's supporters have only a vague idea of what "Make America Great Again" means.
The left, which is race-obsessed, sneered that it really meant "Make America White Again." In one of their typically dazzling displays of logic, the Democrats reasoned that since Trump wanted to deport illegal aliens, who are mostly non-white, the real goal of immigration enforcement is to make America "whiter" – as if national security, crime-control or fairness to low-income wage-earners couldn't possibly be considerations.
Trump's platform included border security, rebuilding our military, job creation, negotiating realistic trade deals and developing domestic energy – all worthy, even necessary, goals. But it's values, not policies, that made America great in the first place. Only by rediscovering those virtues will our country return to its former glory.
Make America Great Again means we're not great now. Why? Is greatness related to the economy? We're in the eighth year of the Obama stagnation, the annual growth rate never rising above 3%.
But the Greatest Generation went through the Great Depression, when unemployment was as high as 25%. It was great based on its values, not on prosperity, which would eventually flow from those values.
The public seems to understand, if only intuitively, that something is very wrong. In 2016, only 27% said they were satisfied with the way things were going in America. It's doubtful they were thinking about tax rates, the dangerous decline of defense spending, or opposition to the Keystone Pipeline.
• How can we be great again when last year 780 people were killed in Chicago (the president's hometown), one third the number of Americans who died in Iraq over 15 years?
• How can we be great again when in the same garden spot, four animals kidnapped and tortured a mentally disabled man for 24 hours (which they streamed live on Facebook) while shrieking their hatred for Trump.
• How can we be great again when a member of Congress hung a picture in the Capitol depicting a police officer as a pig shooting demonstrators?
• How can we be great again when our leaders consistently lie about the nature of a cult, masquerading as a religion, which could ignite World War III?
• How can we be great again when refusal to celebrate gender confusion (a la the special issue of National Geographic on "The (so-called) Gender Revolution") is met with cries of bigotry?
• How can we be great again when the family, the cornerstone of civilization, is disappearing? Only 26% of Millennials aged 18 to 32 are married, compared to 36% of Gen Xers and 48% of Boomers at the same stage in their lives.
• How can we be great again when Congress refuses to de-fund a group that includes leaders who profited from the sale of fetal body parts?
• How can we be great again when Hollywood dumps its toxic waste on the rest of the nation, when one of the most successful movies of 2015 made sexual torture look romantic?
• How can we be great again when the youth of each generation know less about their nation's history than the one before – when (on a multiple choice test) only 35% of 4th graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence (you'd think its title would have given them a clue), and when only 43% of high school students knew the half-century in which the Civil War was fought?
• How can we be great again when a significant segment of the electorate could be called the Gimme Bloc?
• How can America be great again when so many of the young think our enemies have every right to hate us – when they believe that America is defined by racism, aggression, witch hunts and the exploitation of minorities and third-world people?
• How can America be great again when more Millennials say they could vote for a socialist (45%) than have a favorable view of capitalism (42%) and only 37% have a "very unfavorable" view of communism, an ideology responsible for the murders of an estimated 94 million human beings in the 20th century?
• How can we be great again when religion is steadily declining? The number of Americans with no religious affiliation went from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014. Among Millennials, it's 29%.
Greatness starts in the heart and the head.
In their essay "7 Lessons in Manliness from the Greatest Generation," Brett and Kate McKay said the venerated generation's defining characteristics included: a sense of personal responsibility, frugality, humility, loyalty in love and hard work.
Greater generations of Americans strived for virtue, believed they were put here for a higher purpose, were grateful for what they had and willing to sacrifice for faith, family and freedom.
America began with a vision – a shining city on a hill, a dream of religious freedom. Then came self-government, civil liberties and a beacon to a suffering humanity.
Even if he never said it, on the question of how to make America great again, think about a quote usually attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville (the great observer of 19th. century American life):
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there.... in her fertile fields and boundless forests – and it was not there.... in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there.... in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
We won't be great again until we get back to being good again – understanding what the good is and being willing to stand up for it, unabashedly. Trump's agenda may be great for America, but it won't make America great again. Only we can do that – while fighting the establishment every step of the way.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.
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