Being Great Again

There was a time when America was great. Not just because of its actions, but because of its dreams. In the middle of the greatest depression the world has ever known, we dreamed of a better society that offered a strong middle class, a security net for the elderly and a childhood for all free of hunger, fear and ignorance.

In building that New Deal for all, we constructed great bridges and dams, electrified the nation and came back from a crushing military attack to become the world’s first super power. In the decade that followed, we split the atom, sent millions to college, built a national highway system and journeyed to outer space.

In the 1960s, we began to lose our way. We started by asking an entire generation to dream of what they would do for their country and we ended by beginning to lose our faith in our government and other institutions. The 1970s started with a president resigning for ethical lapses and ended with voting out one of the most moral leaders we have ever had. In the 1980s, we were taught that our government was the enemy and that greed was good. Since then, the “one nation, united” of our Pledge of Allegiance has devolved into the “me” generations with some tribal warfare thrown in.

America can be great again. But it will not come through a slogan. It will not be built on a message of us versus them. It will not sit on a great wall keeping the rest of the world at bay. It has been a very long time since we had a leader who challenged the status quo by challenging us to dream big and to make those dreams come true.

We can only be great again, by dreaming big and doing big. “Little” Denmark has free health care and free college for all. “Little” Denmark has a $25 minimum wage and a 35 hour workweek. “Little” Denmark is rated the #1 country on earth to start and run a business and the people of “little” Denmark are the happiest on earth.

If we want to be great again, then America must first dream of and then find a way to have free health care for all Americans and free college for all who want to go. We must have a living minimum wage and a work/life balance that truly supports the value of families being together. We need to be the best country on earth to own and operate a business while helping all our people to be the happiest anywhere. In the same vein, we need to dream of and then rebuild our century old infrastructure. We need to upgrade and offer the fastest Internet to the greatest number of our citizens. Can we not dream of and become the greenest economy and the green technology leader of the world?

Simply saying we are great does not make it so. In far too many ways we have slid into mediocrity and labeled it exceptionalism. The American people have shown before that they can and will live up to or down to the standards set for them by their leaders. Big dreams are never easy. Neither is changing the status quo. Only if we demand and support a leader who dreams of and fights for an America that is the best, may we once again be able to dream of and become the greatest nation on earth.

Submitted by Craig Donovan


2 thoughts on “Being Great Again

  1. Theodore makes a good point. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t “Be Great” as a nation. I still like to think we’re the shining beacon on the hill. The real question is what is the American Ideal? Why should people want to live here? And, what can we as a nation do to better the world?
    Craig’s post ask some interesting questions.
    First, why don’t we have some form of universal health care that covers people? Isn’t a healthy society that takes care of our citizens a better community? But, and this is the big BUT, it may not be the program we currently have. During President George H.W. Bush’s term he had the 1,000 points of light. The idea was for people helping others less fortunate. President George W. Bush wanted to provide funds to faith based organizations to help their communities. The problem is that many faith based organizations are shriveling up as younger people, though spiritual, are turning away from organized religion.
    Second, as a nation it is time we get our collective act together and try to solve the issues facing us. It is time for our elected officials to set policies that allow the professionals to implement solutions. For example, I find it fascinating that those running for the Presidency are going to fix the VA. The only people who can fix the VA are those who run and operate the VA. No new law is going to make it better, other than allowing the Secretary to “fire” people. I served as an appointed Director for local government and was “at will.” I find it incredulous that SES level administrators are not “at will.” If they are worried about their “position” then give them a “golden parachute” if terminated for anything other than cause.
    Good post.


  2. Dreaming big as you state is much more than soaring rhetoric and recalling days gone by. But using Denmark as an example is ludicrous. The variables that dictate politics and policy are so far removed that one must laugh at your analogy.
    Denmark has a population of 5.614 million people (2013) and is a homogeneous society with a smaller population than the island of Manhattan.
    I am always amused when pundits use exceptions instead of facts. The United States has a population of 318,9 million (2014) so do the math if you must. Furthermore, over 300 different languages are spoken by hundreds of subcultures from over 150 countries.
    Being Great Again requires reducing the U.S. to small city variables, the most important being assimilation to the social and economic norms that are the backbone of integration.
    Your simplistic Utopian narrative works well on paper, it always looks goods, but never yields the result that can be qualified, or
    quantified when the variable are not the same.

    Maybe the same experiment, never the same results.


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