By Gene Pike
The Republican Party nominated Donald Trump as their 2016 candidate for president in July. He ran his primary campaign by appealing to the far right – people that want to believe that the country has been going in the wrong direction. For them, the direction we need to go is backwards. By using the slogan “Make America Great Again”, a phrase borrowed from the 1980 presidential campaign of Ronald Reagan, he has been able to initiate this backward motion. The question is what exactly does he mean, and how does he plan on doing it. His explanations have been vague at best, and what’s been implied has some serious implications.
Just how far back does Mr. Trump believe we need to go to “Make America Great Again”? Perhaps before the founding of the United States when America was ruled by a King? At the conception of the country when the founders created a constitution whereas only white men could vote, black people were only three fifths of a person, and the country was in debt due to the Revolutionary war. Before the Civil War when black people had no rights and were still locked in slavery? Back to the gilded age when the wealthy ruled and inequality was more prevalent than today? Before the 1920’s when women could not vote and child labor still existed? Or perhaps the years between the start of the Great Depression and World War II. Is he seeking to lead us back to the era of Ronald Reagan when the push for giving more to the rich, busting unions and wage stagnation took hold? Or is it just before Barack Obama became president in 2009, in which America was embedded in what was to become the longest war in our history, and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
According to Trump and pundits on the right, we are a nation in serious decline. Decline in economic policy, foreign policy, immigration policy, trade policy, and the list goes on. A decline in everything America. And how do they believe we got here? The Democratic Party for one, but Barack Obama is the main culprit. For them the Republican Party that has controlled the Congress for much of Barack Obama’s presidency, has miraculously had no part, except for not pushing back hard enough. The Bush administration that was in control of the White House, before and during the start of the 2008 downturn, somehow has been alleviated of any responsibility for that downturn. They believe that it doesn’t really matter that President Obama inherited the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. He should have brought the country back pre-2008, single-handed, and we should be thriving as if it never happened.
Social issues are also something Trump would like to turn back. Some are long-standing, some are more recent. For example, reversing executive orders put in place by Obama will be a priority if Trump is elected. Any social change that has occurred over the past eight years, and perhaps the last few decades, would be targeted. The Affordable Care Act which has given 20 million more people access to health insurance, the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage that has allowed loving families to be whole, the differing of deportations giving immigrant families a more stable home without fear it will be broken up, deciding not to put troops on the ground in a number of conflicts that, in turn, saved American lives, are just some examples of what a Trump presidency would do to turn back time and promote their view of America – especially with support from the a right wing Republican Congress.
The right has longed claimed to be constitutionalists, but seem to be the first to want to violate it. They continuously distort the First Amendment to accommodate only Christians. Trump has plans to ban Muslims from enjoying First Amendment rights, as all who come to this country have an expectation. It seems Donald Trump only wants a Free Press when it works to his advantage. Mr. Trump wants the American people to believe the system is rigged against him by the Democratic establishment, when the Republican Party is actively using voter suppression gimmicks. Donald Trump and Republican Party stands in the Second Amendment, like not enhancing background checks, gun show loophole, and no-fly no-by legislation. This I believe is insulting to our founders, as they would have had no idea what kind of weaponry has been developed, and would not want America to be a more dangerous place.
Despite what Mr. Trump and Republicans would like us to believe, America is not in a serious decline. This is just them employing fear mongering to take advantage of a segment of the population that feels they had been left behind, in a place where America was once “great”. Our past has shown that we can be far worse than we are today, and it is possible we could find ourselves back in one of those times if you allow yourself to vote for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump has conducted himself with a bully mentality, something a sensible parent would not allow their adolescent to get away with, and continues to be reminiscent of world leaders of the past and present. Trump likes to use the” I know you are, but what am I” strategy that children use on the playground. These are not traits that will serve us well if he is in the White House.
Recently, in a speech given by Trump at Gettysburg, he said his hundred day action plan to “Make America Great Again” is a contract between Donald J Trump and the American voter. So, you would have to wonder if he bankrupts the country, will he maintain it’s not his fault as he has with his business dealings in the past? Will he point his finger and claim it’s the voters, saying they should have done a better job vetting him? Donald Trump has conducted himself throughout this campaign with an attitude that contradicts the values of what America has always stood for, and, win or lose, Trump has done damage to America – dividing the country with his rhetoric and making some of his followers believe it’s okay to be deplorable.