Hey Mr. Trump, Exactly When Was America Great?
The Golden Slogan
Being a long-time entrepreneur, I've learned that having a good slogan or ad-line can make or break a business. It can make or break a person who is self-promoting, too.
Donald Trump's slogan, "Make America Great Again," was a best-seller, there's no doubt about that. The words rang like a dinner bell to those who feared immigration, a socialized nation, and other issues they believed would take away from their own livelihood.
But as they ran blindly into the mess-hall with forks and knives in hand, some very important questions and facts got left at the door.
They weren't questions forgotten by those who weren't desperately starving, though.
Now that the challenge has begun for Mr. Trump, there is one important question I'd very much like him to answer; "when exactly was America great for the American people, and not just for the white-male elitists, such as yourself?"
The Great American Eras
Let's try and figure it out on our own.
Up until very recently, America was not so great for gays and lesbians or anyone else who didn't fit the gender-specific roles determined by society. They were persecuted, treated like second-class citizens, or just plain outcasts. They couldn't marry, had very limited partner-rights, and were beaten or killed for being different from those who feared them. These were basic civil rights denied to them and it affected millions of Americans across the board; not just the LGBT community, but their friends and families. America was never great for them, but this is not an issue that has affected you, Mr. Trump, has it?
Speaking of civil rights, blacks (or African Americans as some identify as), also had very limited civil rights up until the 1960's, and even after they won the battle to sit wherever they wanted on a bus, they were still treated with disdain and prejudice. I witnessed the hate myself as some young kid sat across from a black man on a bus and mouthed hateful words to him the whole trip. It isn't something you see a lot of in California, but I know in certain parts of the country, people of different skin colors and ethnicity's are still treated like they're less than garbage. Is Trump referring to the great America when blacks and those who stood up for them were persecuted?
In the 1970's and 80's, corporations successfully began infiltrating our government by way of lobbyists and have in essence changed the balance of political power (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/04/how-corporate-lobbyists-conquered-american-democracy/390822/). The above article suggests that these lobbyists have in essence conquered democracy. A fate that has only grown more detrimental to our liberties over the years. Are you going to take us back before lobbyists and money controlled our government? We're going to have to go much further back, aren't we?
Maybe back in the 1940's and 50's when women were better as seen, but not heard. Where their jobs were to cook dinner, clean the house, and look good on their husband's arm. A time when few women worked outside of the home and were completely dependent on their husbands. A time when women died during birthing complications because the non-viable fetus they were carrying couldn't be aborted legally and contraceptives were practically non-existent. The methods they did have were ineffective at best.
Maybe Trump's great America was in the 1920's and 30's when the average person could barely scrape by on a decent wage and jobs were nearly non-existent. Where organized crime created chaos in many of the cities and public executions of those who didn't play by the rules was just something that happened from day to day. Women couldn't vote before 1920, so perhaps that is where Trump wants to take us.
I could see Trump's great America in the mid to late 1800's where anyone could carry a gun and shoot someone for looking at them wrong. Horse thieves were hanged, but those who murdered the indigenous people were considered heroes.
Is it possible that Trump's great America was in the 1700's when the government was just getting started? Could he possibly want to take us back to the time when rich, white, males set the laws and ruled the country as the peasants were tricked into believing the laws and rights afforded them actually included them? Did any of those laws do anything to protect or serve anyone who wasn't rich, white and male? No, they didn't. It took centuries for the American people to gradually, inch by inch, add amendments and laws that protected all Americans; white, black, rich, poor, female, male, gay, straight, religious, non-religious.
America has worked hard to get where it is today and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to continue that stride. However, there isn't a single point in our "Great American" history that I would be comfortable going back to. Every point just takes us to where one group or other had to fight for their basic civil rights, and only one, special group alone held all the power; the rich, white, males.
Yes, there are a lot of places in our system that need serious repair (such as the corporate engine's fingers in our government policies), but our ancestor's worked hard and sacrificed so much to bring us where we are today as a mixed society with equal rights and protections under the law. We're ALL allowed to have those rights because of what they sacrificed and achieved regardless of whether the issues directly pertained to any one group, or encompassed many. There is no point in our Nation's history where more groups share equal rights than right now. But instead of moving forward to continue with that growth, the American people fell for the oldest marketing ploy in the book. 'We've' elected an individual who wants to take us back to an unknown time in our history when only his group had a Great America. A rich, white, male who knows nothing of strife, blood-sweat-and-tears, or dignity. Someone who will, and has, judged and persecuted those he deems unfit or lesser-than-himself in our society (which, in actuality, is every single one of us that isn't a rich, white, male, or a female he thinks is worth objectifying).
What Trump will be able to change in his four years in office is anyone's guess, but there's one thing for sure, he can't possibly make America great...again.