One of the politicians who seeks the office of the President runs on this campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” What are the criteria that determine when America is great? Who decides when America is great? Since the slogan ends in the word “again,” we can take an historical look at when America was great and why.
For millennia, America, the continent, was home to a wondrous variety of tribal people. Being tribal, they struggled with one another, alternating between times of peace with neighboring tribes and times when they used tribal warfare to protect themselves or to expand their hunting territory. The hunting of wild game was often the determining factor, especially if the game that was being hunted moved elsewhere (onto another tribe’s territory). This was an interesting time, about which we know very little, but I do not believe that the expanse of America was great during this time.
The American continent was colonized by Europeans, beginning in the 17th century. Both opportunists and persecuted people were colonists. The opportunists sought gold, power, and great tracts of land. The persecuted attempted to establish their little slices of heaven in America. Both groups encountered the tribal people, and while there were times of peace, there was a lot of war too, plus pestilence (diseases traded between the once-separated tribesmen and the Europeans). America was not great during this time.
British colonials organized to separate from Britain in the 18th century. They drew upon the democratic ideals of ancient Greece and they invoked the protection of God upon their endeavor. Lucky for them, they got help from the French and the Spanish, plus Britain was involved in a world war at the time. The east coast of America became the United States of America, a new experiment in democracy. High ideals, sound moral foundations, and a people came together to apply their energy to expand and grow strong during and after this time. America was great!
The growth and expansion of America (the USA) continued into the 19th century, but it skewed as the southern states remained largely agrarian (agricultural) while the northern states moved faster into the industrial age. Social and political differences arose and Americans were compelled to revisit unfinished business. During our Revolutionary War, the power to war had come from the colonies, which were now states. The power remained with the states up to the 1860’s, which made the USA more like the uSA (little u). The great democratic experiment nearly failed, but did not fail. It got stronger. America came back from a major setback, to resume its expansion toward greatness. The defining time for America was World War II. The peoples of the world were on the brink of being divided up by great warring nations, and America stepped in to rally those who resisted it and to lead two simultaneous efforts to crush it. Without question, America was great during the 1940’s and it became a super power in the 1950’s.
I will leave you with an opinion. I believe that America was unprepared and ungrateful for what it had, to the point of embarking on a path to lose its morality and its walk with God, beginning in the 1960’s. Since that time, at every level from low to high, our people fail to have vision, goals, to make plans and to resource them. Instead of leading, America has mostly reacted to what other nations do. In the name of all-inclusiveness, we bring our collective energy down to the lowest and softest level of our society. The lowest and softest peoples of the world flock to our country, and they get in.
In America today, about 1,000 Christian churches stand up each year, and about 4,000 existing Christian churches fail each year from lack of attendance. So, the slogan, “Make America Great Again,” at the very least, implies that America is not great now. I agree, that America is not great now. The list of what we cannot or will not do far exceeds accomplishments that we might place on a list of greatness. If you agree, how do we make America great again? I believe that we, as a people, must rediscover our morality, and yes, God has a role, a BIG role, in order for our great experiment in democracy to continue. It can begin with a single person, one moral American, taking a stand. If the stance is pure and good, Americans will rally on it. We got lucky during our revolution. Perhaps we will get lucky again and a moral man or woman will emerge to run for the office of President of the United States.