The Hollowness of Trump’s Promise to ‘Make America Great Again’

What Makes America Great

Trump’s slogan suggests our country was once great but is no longer. Is that true?

By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Dec. 22, 2017, at 7:00 a.m.

A little over two years ago, Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination for president with a bang. He and his team came up with a brilliant slogan on which to base their campaign: “Make America Great Again.” It was even more brilliant 38 years ago when Ronald Reagan’s team came up with it, but team Trump acted as though it was their original idea.

This simple slogan, or “MAGA” for short, has come to symbolize President Trump and his overriding philosophy for his presidency. The brilliance lies in the simplicity of it but also lies in its vagueness. After all, what does it mean to “Make America Great”? Let alone to make it great “again.”

Many years ago, I was on Mackinac Island, Michigan, a beautiful, idyllic place full of Victorian homes, quaint shops, million dollar views of the Straits of Mackinac connecting two of the Great Lakes and horses and buggies in lieu of motorized vehicles, which are prohibited on the island. I rented a horse and buggy to tour the island with my brother and sister-in-law, as well as my college roommate Mary, who happens to be half African-American and half Korean. As we toured the island my sister-in-law, a lover of all things Victorian, was marveling at how wonderful it would have been to live in that era. Mary said with a chuckle, “Sure, it would have been great for you guys! You’re white! I would probably have been a slave!” It was a light-hearted, funny moment thanks to Mary’s sense of humor. But recently I’ve thought about that moment in the context of “making America great again.”

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