Donald Trump says “Make America Great Again.” Like his policies, his slogan falls apart if you think about it carefully. It looks in the wrong direction — backwards.
Trump harkens back to an earlier time when things were great. When was that time? When America was founded, everyone had a musket, and slaves drove the economy? The 50s, when gender and race prejudices kept people “in their place”? I’d rather not give up the Internet, smartphones, environmental regulation, or robotic surgery. The Daily Show revealed the fallacy in this video.
Hillary Clinton said “America never stopped being great.” That doesn’t feel right, either. I’m not happy with partisan gridlock, flawed Obamacare, or our disastrous forays into the Middle East morass. This is no time to pat ourselves on the back.
What makes America great is that we never stop moving forward. We innovate. We create. And when it comes to government, we adjust. We make progress. When financial institutions crash the economy, we regulate them. We stop people from buying machine guns. We stop companies from polluting the air and water. We loan small businesses money so they can grow.
As a country, we fail a lot. But we are supposed to learn from our failures and move on. We learned that prohibiting alcohol was a bad idea, and we stopped it. We figured out that having separate schools for people of different races was inherently wrong, and we made that illegal. We learned that gay people deserved the right to marry each other.
I’d like to fix one thing: the culture in Washington that prevents our politicians from getting along with each other, and working together to solve our problems. America isn’t great right now, but it’s fixable. It’s not going to get great again by looking backward. Greatness means looking forward and striving for something better.