Make America America Again

Author: Gary Hart

Donald Trump has but one idea, and it is wrong.  He started from the assumption that America was faltering and had lost its way.  Somehow, the eight-year Obama presidency was at fault.  Because he could not fault previous Republican presidents, the loss of America’s greatness occurred on Obama’s watch.  But Obama inherited a serious recession and managed to claw his way out of it.  He also inherited two flawed wars and struggled to reduce their clutches on the nation.

Based on his destruction of a 75-year-old U.S. bipartisan international policy, by retreating from virtually every foreign policy engagement with democratic allies, he also implicitly blames all presidents of both parties going all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt.

There never has been, and never will be, a Trump date when America lost its “greatness”.

When Trump leaves Washington, sooner rather than later, he will leave behind no blueprint for making America great again.  Because he does not have one.

Thus, the next president’s mandate is to restore the best elements of America’s post-World War II greatness in international leadership and to adjust our fixed principles of justice, equality, and liberty to the new social, political, and economic realities of the 21st century.

In a word, the next president must make America America again.

Through our national society, America has a soul.  That soul is being violated daily by the incumbent president who does not understand it.  That is why he cannot define “greatness”.  Our soul was defined by our Founders in our Revolutionary War, during our Civil War, and in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.  And by the tens of millions of Americans who care deeply for our country and its future but do not wear red caps and go to rallies.

There is hardly an area of our national life that has not been seriously damaged in the past three and a half years.  That includes our public educations system, environmental protections, health systems, public infrastructure, fair tax laws, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and even our proud military structures.

Has any of this destruction made us greater.  Hardly.

The great America Trump inherited is much less great now.  Our public esteem around the world now is in sharp decline.  Vast numbers of foreign citizens no longer see us as a shining city on a hill.  The torch of the Statue of Liberty is dimmed.  A nation of immigrants now builds walls to keep out those with legitimate claims for entry.  International trade creating millions of American jobs has been torpedoed by trade wars.

Nuclear arms control treaties with Russia and other nations are being summarily and unilaterally repealed and abrogated.  Is a new nuclear arms race making us safer…or greater?

When Trump returns to his golf course next January, the virus which he failed to address for too long will still be with us, our economic shambles will continue for at least a decade and we will continue to struggle toward racial justice in our society.

Teams of skilled diplomats will entrench themselves in the capitols of allies to repair the damage and restore alliances and in non-allied nations to restore good will based on mutual self-interests.

A new national recovery agency will help finance the restoration of millions of small businesses.  The Affordable Care Act will be stabilized and expanded.  The Jeffersonian public education system will be rescued from the clutches of the privatizers.  Corporate lobbyists will be driven from government agencies mandated to protect our environment and to preserve our nation’s natural heritage.  Most of all, our national security structures and our military services will be restored to positions of respect.

Serious damage has been done, so all of this will not be easy.  But restoring the ancient republican ideal of public service will once again attract the involvement of an army of young people.

And then, we can make America America again.

 

23 Responses to “Make America America Again”

  1. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>>>>>Thus, the next president’s mandate is to restore the best elements of America’s post-World War II greatness in international leadership and to adjust our fixed principles of justice, equality, and liberty to the new social, political, and economic realities of the 21st century. In a word, the next president must make America America again.

    And, what a Herculean effort all of that will take. But, I’m not worried about it, not in the least.

    Because, I know that America and the promise of America will not only be in good hands but the very best of hands that Americans could possibly hope for and that will come in the form of a Biden administration. And, I am hardly alone among informed citizens of the world in this unending belief.

  2. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    May I suggest that we “Make America a New America” that has equality, justice, and security for all. Would it be possible for our next president to issue an “Executive Order” voids, nullifies, and rescinds any and all of for the current repubican occupants “Executive Orders” in one fell swoop? Sorta like Alexander and the Gordian Knot.

  3. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Yeah, going back to the America before Trump isn’t good enough, anymore, if it ever was.

    I think a lot of people see Biden’s message of restoring the soul of America as getting back to an old America and not a better America.

    So, that message needs to be reworked and, perhaps, a new catchy phrase found that encompasses a better future for all Americans. And, Democrats probably don’t have to appropriate Trump’s slogan as a template. In fact, they probably shouldn’t.

  4. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    I’m still trying to think of a new catchy phrase but, I’m not very good at this …

  5. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    You know what? Slogans are unnecessary, this time around. And, I’m pretty sure Senator Biden doesn’t like them, either. Just show the contrasts, in every way and everyday.

  6. Neil McCarthy Says:

    Slogans are hard, especially in the current environment.

    “Make America America Again” is pretty catchy, and accurate as an aspirational matter, but MAAA on hat doesn’t cut it. No internal consonant. And it sounds weird.

    If we were trying for something in the “New” vein (an echo of New Deal or New Frontier), we might consider “New Awakening”. But that, unfortunately, would convey the notion that waking up will be sufficient, and it won’t be.

    We could also try frank honesty, perhaps substituting a statment for a slogan. I’m pretty sure either “Sorry We Scewed Up, We’ll Do Better This Time” or “2020 — This Time We’ll Get it Right” could help repair the damage Trump did to our relations with other nations. If sounding apologetic is a bridge too far for some, how about “We Get It, Don’t Worry”, or “Now We Know”. Or we could go with an old favorite that will still give the world hope — “DJT, One And Done”.

    If there is a need to overcome doubt about our ability to reclaim our values, “We’re Still Standing” might work (and there’s a song that could go with it). Or we could try something that is a bit confessional while conveying the possibility of a better future, something like “America Is An Experiment, But Sometimes the Scientist is Mad”.

    Perhaps we should channel Dr. King. How about “Dr. King had a dream. Trump is a nightmare. Wake-up America.” It’s a bit long. But you could still fit it on a bumper

  7. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    I’ve got a slogan!

    Fast-Tracking the Promise of America.

    FTPOA. Hmmm.

    Okay, it needs some work …

  8. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Neil,

    I really like some of your ideas. Especially, ‘ America Is An Experiment, But Sometimes the Scientist is Mad” The acronym is unintelligible, though, and that would be kinda like defeating the purpose. Heh.

    That last bit is very good, too – it’s not too long for a bumper sticker, just too – I don’t know what. So, also, defeats the purpose.

    What exactly is the purpose?

  9. Neil McCarthy Says:

    Elizabeth,

    Unfortunately, probably the only “purpose” is to capture/retain the attention/allegiance of low information voters. I was (obviously) being a bit tongue in cheek with some of the statements, and none of them are slogans.

    It might be better to go with your original notion and forget slogans. Trump’s afterall is, like most of what come out of his mouth, a lie. With him, “Make America Great Again” really is “Make America Hate Again”. He governs by dividing and by validating the worst instincts (racism, resentment, fear, ignorance) in a subset of the population; the last time that was tried was in the run-up to the Civil War and it failed.

    So, maybe the thing to do is to turn Trump’s slogan around so that when anyone hears “MAGA”, they know it’s garbage. Biden could regularly say something like this — “Everytime Trump says ‘Make America great again’, what he really means is ‘Make America hate again’. That’s not us. That’s him. We’re better than that”.

    Another question to ponder is whether slogans or one-liners matter, and maybe Sen. Hart can weigh in on this. I lived and worked in California back in early 1984, and after the Iowa caucuses and NH primary, many of us Hart supporters thought he would be the nominee, and pretty soon (I remember riding around LA collecting donations to send to the campaign; everyone was a bit euphoric). Then Mondale unleashed “where’s the beef”, which was false but catchy. Did that matter? Senator, did you ever do any polling to find out if the Mondale barb worked (apart from it being false)?

    Neil

  10. Paul G Says:

    Neil:

    As a matter of principle, “Where’s the Beef?” was merely a catchy commercial, but as a matter of artifact it suggested absence of substance; the unknown. “Law & Order” was, and remains a dog whistle to the lesser angels of our nature.

    My hope for a renewed Kennedy enlightenment was crushed with RFK assassination and re-ascension of “Law & Order” candidate Nixon, who, as you write of the current occupant (also) “governed by dividing and validating worst instincts (racism, resentment, fear, ignorance) in a subset of the population; the last time that was tried was in the run-up to the Civil War and it failed.” Time for the troops?

    “Where’s the Beef?” taunt occurred on the eve of Super Tuesday’s 9-states’ contest. Blurring the timing and outcome remains the continuing fake news (cover-up) story of major media falsehoods about the winning Hart campaign that refused to be bought.

    In the two weeks after Hart’s surprising 10% victory in NH (while broke but still refusing $PAC), he won several caucus states. On Super Tuesday he won 7 of 9 states. But major media ignored his caucus wins, claiming he “split” the five primary states.

    Years later, his opponent’s manager – by then a fox news analyst – said his candidate was “about to throw in the towel” on Super Tuesday night but then saw a major media network interviewer “congratulate” Hart but then tell him he “lost” the South. “Our hat was back in the ring,” said Mr. Beckel.

    Neil, them’s the stubborn facts … and the “beef.”

  11. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    Neil, I can hear it now, “MAAA. That the sound that sheeple make.”

  12. Gary Hart Says:

    The genius of “where’s the beef” wasn’t, as the press did not understand, a clever take off on a burger commercial. It was, as its proponent himself did not understand, an homage to compression in politics. Question: How do we end the Cold War? You have 12 seconds to respond for t.v. Despite reams of paper on globalization, technology and the information revolution, military reform, the environmental apocalypse, and much more, he knew detailed ideas could not be compressed into 12 seconds. Hence, “it’s the economy, stupid,” passed as Clintonian genius. Does all of this sound familiar? GH

  13. Edward Goldstick Says:

    Amen, Gary…

    … but if we are to believe that you were being somewhat ironic in your invocation to “Make America America Again”, and given the unusually fraught and exciting nature of this moment in history, the issue then is surely “which America” and to what degree different visions are inherently incompatible or potentially reconciliable.

  14. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Too familiar. Maybe this time it will be different … Or Biden will have to find a way to tease it out to one minute or more. 🙂

  15. Paul G Says:

    IT’S THEM? IT’S US?

    How many of us wish forgiveness if we had known when it mattered what we know now (to have acted timely and effectively)? Our best hope is with today’s young people, empowered by technology, who quickly discern systemic injustices too long hidden in distracting headlines and fake news quotes that mocked betrayed and exiled our best.

    In all of recorded history in almost every country unjust men (and women) of many creeds and colors have become their version of an all-powerful Caesar. It is worth noting, I think, that in ancient Roman days the senate assigned a poet to constantly remind their powerful leader that he was “just a man.”

    In today’s US senate, the leader swore impartiality in the service of justice while also saying he would not be impartial. Such betrayal of our Constitution, unthinkable in the modern (JFK) era, was gradually enabled in the Johnson “credibility gap” era, but on steroids since the Nixon era birthing of the current supremacist WH occupant.

    Still, the most enduring words of hope may be, as we reflect this father’s day weekend on the words of the most humble genius to ever grace this tragic earth, and chronicled in the Good Book: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    Many of us may need to substitute “we” for “them.”

  16. Michael Says:

    I agree, it will take years to undo the immense damage Trump has inflicted on the nation. (That seems to be the case whenever a Republican administration gets the boot, doesn’t it?) The damage to our international prestige won’t ever be fully reversed. Once our allies determine that the U.S. is no longer a dependable ally and start working around us, there is nothing we can do to reverse the trend. The large minority of the electorate that is thrilled by Trump’s spite and ignorance is still there, as are the Republican Party that enabled him and the Electoral College that nullified the votes of 66 million Americans in one afternoon to install him in the White House. There is no guarantee that this, or worse, won’t happen again even if Biden wins in November. It is now a matter of self-preservation that even our closest allies not be so dependent on us.

  17. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Michael,

    >>>>>>>”There is no guarantee that this, or worse, won’t happen again even if Biden wins in November. It is now a matter of self-preservation that even our closest allies not be so dependent on us.”

    Oh, I must vehemently disagree with you on that assertion, most decidedly and most vehemently.

    There is absolutely a guarantee that this or worse won’t happen again so long as Biden is in charge. Are you freakin’ kidding me!!!?

    And, you can take that to the bank … even if it’s in Iowa.

    Your allies know who Biden is, even if y’all don’t.

  18. Michael Says:

    Elizabeth, I meant in any future election. The Trump episode won’t be so easily forgotten abrard, even after a Biden presidency.

  19. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    America is very in need of much we reason about and read to, here, and on sites with intelligent discussion advanced by in depth analysis, provided by, for example, Senator hart.

    He is correct here as ever , especially about the compression of an idea into a phrase.

    Make the world kinder, as a slogan, would not need that word, again, for it never was other than mixed , in fact once, far less of a kind place, more totalitarian than now. But people now yearn more for kindness.

    The trouble is, criminality, subjection, bullies, demagogues, none inspire the need for that “kinder, gentler nation, ” the early President Bush spoke for, and to some degree believed in.

    Make America, sane again, rhymes!

  20. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Well, Michael, I think you greatly underestimate what Biden can do to restore the promise of America and America’s role as global leader.

    And, I pray to God that the thought of making a one-term pledge never enters Biden’s mind.

  21. Paul G Says:

    Elizabeth:

    I pray to God the thought of marijuana as a “gateway drug” never enters Biden’s mind.

  22. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Yeah, Paul, Biden isn’t right about everything … 🙁

  23. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    He could always evolve, you know.

Leave a Reply

All comments are reviewed by a moderator prior to approval and are subject to the UCD blog use policy.