Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” is meaningless

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Courtesy of abc7.ny.com

Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again," is not the nice mantra it seems to be.

Shari Boiskin, Eastside Opinions Editor

Most people know presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.” Initially, looking at the slogan, to me it sounded like a nice patriotic mantra. However, when I began to think about it, I was lost. What former greatness does Donald Trump plan to return America to?

The United States is 240 years old. Like any other country, it has had its ups and downs. Sure, the U.S. has never really had to deal with, for example, megalomaniac dictators, fascists, and the construction of a giant wall to prevent outsiders from coming in, on its own soil (but it may have to pretty soon!).

So, in search of what era of greatness the United States will return to, I initially thought of the era that many view nostalgically  – the 1950s.

The 1950s was certainly an era of prosperity. However, it was also an era of complacency and conformity. People enjoyed living in their nice, neat identical homes with their perfect, green front yards. Women were in the kitchen, men went to work; children went to school. While everyone made like ostriches and kept their heads in the sand, the threat of Communism loomed over this country. Racism was still a huge issue, as was sexism. Both were largely ignored until the 1960s. So, even though rock ‘n roll music was fun, does it make up for the “duck and cover drills” and bomb shelters? How about the facts that President Dwight Eisenhower made the interstate highway as an evacuation route for people living in cities, overpasses high enough so military cars could pass through, and the roads wide enough to be used as airstrips – that sounds like a jolly good time, doesn’t it?

So I crossed the fifties out as the era of greatness that America was returning to. My next guess was the 1920s. The economy was good, business was surely booming; people seemed happy. Yes, the 1920s was a decade long party, but it was a party that America’s first known thrill killers Richard Leopold and Nathan Loeb, and 5 million cross-burning-hood-wearing Ku Klux Klan members were invited to.

The 1930s is not even a legitimate contender, seeing that it is the decade of the Great Depression.

The 1700 and 1800s were crossed out all of the way – half of the population was enslaved for a significant chunk of them, and then the rest was overcrowded with robber barons and injustices against the common people.

The 1960s were a giant mess – a mess so large that it flowed into the 1970s with the Kent State massacre, the Beatles breaking up, the Vietnam War continuing, and terrorist attacks at the Olympics. That’s only 1970-1972.

In the 1980s, AIDS was identified, the New York Stock Exchange suffered; Pan Am flight 103 was bombed.

And then to the 1990s – the decade that hosted the Gulf War, South Central LA riots, the OJ Simpson trial, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Columbine school shooting.

From Leopold and Loeb to Columbine, there are a wealth of stains on America’s past. Sprinkled in between all of these horrible events are wonderful things like the invention of television, the first man on the moon, and the invention of the internet. There has never been a single decade of American history that was fully “great.” However, that is what makes America what it is. The fact that we are able to juggle a balance of good and bad events lends to the fact that we are a strong country. This is what makes America great.

In one of my favorite poems, “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins, it says, “Trying to protect his students’ innocence / he told them the Ice Age was really just / the Chilly Age, a period of a million years / when everyone had to wear sweaters…The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more

than an outbreak of questions such as / ‘How far is it from here to Madrid?’ / ‘What do you call the matador’s hat?’”

The teacher attempts to soften things up for his students, who, by the end of the poem, you find out are just a bunch of brutes. Donald Trump whitewashes our history by telling us that he will make America great “again.” He softens it up in an attempt to make us nostalgic for “better days.”

The better days are our present.There are still issues with race, homophobia, sexism, etc. However, the difference between the America of today and the America of yesteryear is that this America is much more open and accepting.

So, Mr. Trump, while your offer to “make America great again” does sound, well, great, I have to graciously decline.There is no previous state that you can return this country to that would make it better than it is right now.