This ‘make America great again’ schtick, is at best pabulum for folks who value ego over reality.
Being called great should never be a goal and definitely never a national policy. It is the stuff of promoters and conmen and childish egoist or sociopathic dictators. We are great when we are united, just, keep our word, are civil, outwork and out innovate, not when we bully and self promote and threaten. That makes us petty, not great
Our American founders and framers were not concerned with making America greater or more exalted than Britain or France or any nation. They were concerned with making America free, just ,independent and towards preserving those aspects, by making America a unified nation. Becoming a great economic power, a great military power, a great force for free and representative society and the world’s most dominant cultural influence just followed success in keeping such a far flung collection of varying peoples of varying opinions and varying cultural origins united.
The glue that kept us together was the loose but strong bond of Federalism. From religious fanatics to wanton libertines there was a locale, a place in the wide array of states and cities where a person could stake out their own jurisdiction and live their own life. Imperfections were and are numerous but they gradually were and are being ground down, vetted and mitigated by the slow and steady competition of ideas.
We became ‘great’ because our virtues outweighed our vices, (albeit marginally sometimes) Because of our unity our numbers as mostly successful and prosperous individuals overwhelmed any other divisive system on the planet. In fact despite their constant criticisms and denigration of the United States and its seemingly chaotic and messy lifestyle and governance the world has rushed to try to imitate us. The European Union is a politically correct attempt to create an American style unity in Europe and despite setbacks is moving in that direction.1 India, even while holding a grudge against the US for an early embrace of Pakistan, created a Federalist system fashioned in large part after that of the USA.2 Australia bucked the Commonwealth tendency to favor uncodified Constitutions and instead created a codified Constitution far more like the American Constitution than the UK’s uncodified Constitution 2.
We have vast wealth inequality, concerning addiction and other health problems, education levels which are declining in comparison and a shocking disintegration of our families. Still because we have followed the basic model set forth of relative civility in government and slow change that was not mandated or forced from above but arose as people chose to change we have remained the world’s greatest power.
Building showcase airports, staging massive military parades, forcing temporary size advantage over other nations in lieu of actually outworking or out innovating, strutting and verbally haranguing others, forcing smaller nations to ‘do us favors’, reveling in our ability to force unfair concessions, these don’t make us great. They make us lazy, hated, and corrupt. In fact being called great should never be a national policy. Maintaining our slow, steady, just compromise and keeping our balance between unity and inalienable rights, our vibrant competition of ideas and our reputation as a nation of contract keepers, common sensical, level headed citizens are far more important than posturing and heavy handed public displays.
Make America America again. We don’t need nor should covet the MAGA madness. It is neither great nor healthy.