I have a problem with Trump’s campaign slogan. The problematic word is ‘again.’ In my view, America has to be great for all of its people to be really great. Has it ever been that way? Trump isn’t specific about when America was great; but it’s a good guess that he means during the economic boom following World War II and beyond.
Let me point out a few groups for which America wasn’t so great back then:
It wasn’t great for African-Americans in so many ways I don’t have enough space to write about them. But here’s a few: Yes, Jackie Robinson was playing ball in the majors; but black people couldn’t use the “whites only” bathrooms in many of the stadiums in which they went to see him play. And they couldn’t vote or eat in the same restaurants as their fellow white citizens…in large swaths of America.
And it wasn’t great for gay people, because they had to hide in “closets” to avoid being bullied, beaten, killed or coerced into “cures” for homosexuality.
And it wasn’t great for many women who had to hide from the sexual advances of their bosses at work or the abuse of their husbands at home, because they had little financial means to escape from either. How many of them numbed themselves with Miltown?
And it wasn’t great for many catholic schoolboys, because they had to hide from priests who coveted them sexually as they preached the word of God and while church “fathers” turned a blind eye.
And it wasn’t great for many African-American WWII soldiers who came home and wanted a bit of the American dream by owning a small house to raise their families. Levittown, that great post war social experiment, was perfect for returning soldiers – but only if you were white.
Whew! America’s greatness excluded millions of Americans, didn’t it?
So who did enjoy its greatness? For the most part, white heterosexual men who could take advantage of the open road of opportunity called the American Dream.
Until that road is open to all Americans, it can never be really great. It never was, by this definition. I believe Trump’s greatness has more to do with American power and influence in the world of nations and little to do with quality of life and equal opportunity for its people. There is a balance we can achieve and find greatness in both.
I don’t believe that Mr. Trump gives a damned about balanced greatness. So I say I don’t want you as our leader.
What do you say?