So I have a Twitter again, for now (possibly longer, the new character count limit makes it less annoying). Anyway I asked a question there and would sincerely love an answer.
The thing is, really, looking over history The United States has spent an awful lot of time being pretty self-righteous about how great it is, but how great was it ever … really?
Let’s start with the beginning:
During the colonial era there was how horribly the colonists and the colonisers themselves treated the natives. Not my definition of greatness, though I suppose at the time European attitudes were grotesquely barbarically and such things were deemed a demonstration on greatness. So, do we look back on what our ancestors called “greatness” and declare ourselves great for it? Or do we look back in shame at such things, vow never to repeat them, and trudge forward in hopes to become better? And if we choose the latter can we, until we’ve become better, call ourselves “great” any longer?
Forward to the Revolutionary War. Now, depends how you want to look at an act of high treason. Arguably it was for a good cause so we’ll let it go, never mind that Canada got its independence more peacefully about a generation later, and possibly losing the lower colonies had some influence on that; I haven’t delved deeply into that chapter of history. So noble origins! This is greatness! The birth of Democr—what? Oh, Athens? Hmmm … Rome?! Oh but … “All men are created eq—” well not slaves, of course not slaves they’re created only ⅗ of a … I said men not women … yes I know about Abigail Adams … okay … fine.
We’ve got freedoms, like “of the press, et al”. Okay, yes, some of those were taken from the Magna Carta. And I guess every other democ—wait even some of the monarchies… what about … oh, some of those too … is it only dictatorships that don’t … mostly? Okay, fine.
Every step of the way the only thing America has been a true societal leader in is: populous uprisings. We seem to have had a profound influence on the French Revolution, for example. That’s a pretty grisly thing to have on the old Collective Karma 😖🤢.
The scary thing is, if the greatness that is desired is being demonstrated by the GOP & Trump policies and actions then the America they want to recreate, the America that was so great in the first place … is Nazi Germany.
Look over a history of Hitler’s rise to power and the founding of the Third Reich. I’m sorry, but the past few years especially but even some of the past decades with regards to general Republican efforts (and more than a few Democratic Party items too, they’re hardly innocent … if nothing else guilty by complacency) all of it is checking off a bullet list of “How to form a fascist empire • By Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer. It’s horrifying.
But how is that Making America Great Again? I mean, I suppose, if you’re a fascist you would want to be punched in the … I mean shot … I’m sorry, to recreate the Germany of the 1930s and early 1940s but that wasn’t America. This would be your idea of Great In The First Place. True, it’s hardly catchy, but why “again”?
And why so shy about answering? I’m hardly the first to ask, though I tend to phrase the question a tad differently, but it’s been asked: Make it Great in what manner? Relative to what era and ideology? Why so reluctant to answer? If you want a return to slavery and a reversal of women’s suffrage just say so. If you’re anxious for fascism then own that.
Admittedly some do. The “alt-right” (henceforth spelled n-a-z-i-s or a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s or p-u-n-c-h-i-n-g-b-a-g-s) do, some directly and others by being opposed to anti-fascist groups. And sure the Republican party primaries are starting to contain a lot of open nazis and the establishment is often praising nazi actions. Trump seems to think that there’s some fine people in the nazi half of The Charlottesville Thing. So I suppose they’re being coyly open about it? Is that a thing?
Anyway, yeah, if there is some actual greatness we’re supposed to be returning to, I’d be interested in knowing it. And if the greatness in question, whether return or aspired, is fascism and it’s subsequent oppression then I’ll thank you to please fuck off to the nearest airless world and take a long walk without a spacesuit.