Pretty catchy, eh?
But let me be blunt . . . it doesn’t quite cut it.
In fact, lacking just two letters it is entirely wrong!
A wealthy America doesn’t come from a strong dollar, skyrocketing stock market, or how many billionaires it has.
A strong America doesn’t come from how many nuclear-tipped missiles or military bases it has across the globe.
A great America doesn’t magically emerge by stomping from one continent to another as a belligerent bully making every other country cower and kowtow.
As appealing as this facile notion of “American greatness” is, how about some perspective?
Here’s the way I think the meme should go . . .
“Make Americans Great Again!”
Mind you, the idea that every American can be great doesn’t mean every person will be famous, a billionaire, or become president. It does mean that every individual is supported and encouraged to realize their individual greatness. You can be a great mother or father or sister or brother. You can be a great teacher or bank clerk or mail deliverer. You can be a great baseball coach or a great neighbor. You can be a great friend.
Let’s be honest. Maybe Americans were never really great. Certainly, it has had its share of oppressed citizens, victims of racism, exploited underclasses, even desperately poor. These folks never had a chance to be great on any terms. The persecuted, disadvantaged and marginalized are forever scrambling, living on the edge of desperation.
But at least at one time most of us shared a belief that there was a potential for greatness in each of us, and we not only promoted that ideal but often actively encouraged it in our places of worship, neighborhoods, communities, schools, and among family and friends.
Values have shifted. America is now perpetually at war and divided as never before by wealth inequality and class apartheid.
This is both sinister and entirely by design. Thus . . .
We must rise above the 24/7 deluge of propaganda and manipulative and destructive narratives . . . and reconnect with where our personal strength and power comes from.
This is something we can do individually and personally. This is how we free ourselves from the mind-numbing and dis-empowering nonsense, the resulting dysfunction and paralysis which has become the new normal.
When I say “mind-numbing and dis-empowering nonsense,” I am putting slogans like ‘Make America Great Again’ right at the top of the list.
Recognize . . .
It is faith in oneself and those significant others which we directly impact in our personal lives, not faith in the destructive power of America’s nuclear arsenal which is empowering.
It is confidence by each and every person in what they do — confidence in themselves — and that what they do will make a difference, that gives clarity and vigor to our individual and collective lives, not some misplaced confidence in leaders who clearly have their own agenda which rarely aligns with that of everyday citizens.
It is the belief held by each individual that he or she is significant and an indispensable member of our society — a belief in oneself — not a knee jerk belief that America is the indispensable nation just because it has declared itself so, which generates aspirations and the energy and courage to move forward.
National pride is not about flags and military parades. National pride grows out of the collective sense of self-worth of American citizens, each able to feel that their contribution to their families and communities embraces the personal ideals of a decent and moral life. Patriotism is the natural result of each and every citizen giving their all to each and every other citizen, starting with their family, friends, and community.
These are the true and enduring sources of American greatness.
America will become great again when Americans are great again.
And crucially . . .
Americans will be great again when the impediments to individual potential are removed, when each person has the opportunity and resources available to them to participate and contribute as full and active citizens in an open, receptive, and appreciative society.
The impediments are certainly obvious: It’s class division, wealth inequality, racism, and political paralysis, fostered by the ruling elites to maintain their privilege and undermine independence and individual potential.
The mechanisms are also quite obvious: The ruling elite uses their pay-for-play puppets in high echelons of government to keep us begging. This is a proven, time-honored strategy that stretches back to the beginning of recorded history. And we are again falling for it.
Thus “making America great again” is doomed to failure at the outset. And any blather about making America great without making Americans great is just more hollow and manipulative sloganeering.
Have we had enough of the jingoism and self-congratulatory hype yet?
Isn’t it time to take our country back?
I think we owe it to ourselves and future generations.
There is no guess work here. You either have power or you take it.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand.” – Frederick Douglas
Let the difficult but infinitely rewarding work begin.
Make AMERICANS great again!
Make no mistake about it. We have an enormous struggle ahead of us. But every journey begins with a few single steps. Every action and all activism begins with ideas. Here are my ideas for how we begin.
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