Charlatans are wooing the innocent with this mantra. But when was America "great?" When we overthrew the British crown and established the world's first democracy? We can't do that "again." Were we "great" when Northern troops managed to preserve the union during the Civil War? That won't have an encore. Were we great when we built the railroads and expanded the nation? Those days are over, too.
Did our greatness lie in opening our doors to the immigrants – the Chinese, Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, et. al. who supplied the labor that created the "greatness?" Immigration has continued (to the dismay of the charlatans), as evidenced by our rising Latino population, without any new hints of greatness. Maybe we were great when our immense productive capacity was key to the defeat of fascism during WW II. Fortunately, there is no WW III on the horizon to reprise that greatness. Perhaps we were great in building the world's leading industrial nation. We can say goodbye to that, too, thanks to global capital, which maximizes profit by fleeing to cheap-labor countries and then sequesters its loot in tax havens – leaving behind mostly low-paying service-industry jobs and depleted government coffers.
The fakir Donald Trump says he's going to "make America great again" by reversing all that! How? First, he would have to rescind all private property rights essential to the capitalist system and which give private capital the right to move wherever it wants and do what it wants with its profits. So are Trump and his ilk going to take over international capital and all multinational corporations? How? By convincing the world's nations that harbor global capital to sign onto to his "make America great again" project? Or by creating a global fascist regime – which means he would have to bring all the world's nations under his thumb through an imperial global conquest the likes of which have never been seen. Both prospects are patently absurd. Neither he nor any other candidate can singlehandedly control global capital, it having become virtually autonomous.
Clearly, he is demeaning the majority of the American people by considering them idiotic enough to swallow his absurdities – which he doesn't believe himself! Those who buy "make America great again" either know nothing about their country's history and today's world economy, or they're suffer from a massive inferiority complex that is assuaged by identity with a megalomaniacal demagogue – similar to the German people's enchantment with Hitler.
The truly frightening thing is that there is a real basis for Americans' feelings of inferiority. Most of us can barely get by – or pay for college, health care, etc. – without getting into deeper debt, while money flows to the top minority, creating a historic inequality. This inferiority and suffering isn't relieved by bluster and fantasies of "greatness," but by real economic reform and real empowerment through democratic process.
Short of that, many will fall prey to Trumpism and its insidious calls for a mythical "greatness" – a guarantee that they will remain locked in the poorhouse, while Trump and the other billionaires continue to hold the key!
Andrew Torre is a writer from Landgrove.