For years now Donald Trump and his loyalists have been talking about “Making America Great Again.”
It is a phrase adopted from White Supremacy groups of the 1940s and 1950s. The meaning is the same now as it was then.
Trump’s idea of a great America is a White Nationalist America which would also be an America returned to the Corporate Feudalism of the Robber Baron era along with the complete erasure of the achievements resulting from both the Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage movements.
So, what would “Great” actually look like if women, People of Color, and non-Cisgender people weren’t completely, or even partially, excluded from the benefits of it.
An exploration of the answer touches on more things than one might imagine at first.
As an example lets discuss the intersectionality of several issues.
Guns are now the leading cause of death in the United States for those in the age range of 1 year old to 19 years old. This can be attributed to a number of factors including, but not limited to, toddlers and young children accidently discharging poorly secured loaded weapons found in their homes, teen suicide especially among the oft attacked members of the LGBTQIAA+++ community or just those that haven’t yet come to terms with who they will become as they mature into their sense of self and those whose families are unsupportive, and racial and religious hate crimes
American gun rights advocates argue against any and all efforts to address any of these issues, most often by claiming that American gun violence is not a gun issue but a mental health issue.
At the same time, they refuse to do anything to help those in need of mental heath care. That alone would be bad enough, but they are regularly enacting laws and stoking the hatreds that push the mental health issues of both potential perpetrators and victims of violence further into the danger zone.
There is more intersectionality between each of these items and affordable health care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, reproductive rights, voters’ rights, policing, disparity in justice, and every other aspect of our society than any one article could possibly properly address.
Instead, we’ll turn back to our original question:
What would “Great” actually look like if women, People of Color, and non-Cisgender people weren’t completely, or even partially, excluded from the benefits of it.
It could begin, not with a doomed attempt to eliminate bigotries, but to eliminate the ability to weaponize bigotries through our various societal systems, programs, and institutions.
It would begin not by asking everyone to be nice to each other, but to simply stop going out of their way to be mean and hostile to anyone and being swift to address and correct it when they do.
It would continue by electing officials who prioritize the welfare of the nation’s citizenry over the welfare of stock market investors and the war machine economy. They could then begin the work of not just restoring, but establishing, a true democracy. As the HBO show ‘Succession’ just stated in its most recent episode: America has only had a real democracy for about 50 or 60 years, “unless you don’t count Black people,” and the last few years have proven even that is still remarkably tenuous.
Those elected officials could begin by working to take the best aspects of our society and its potentials and build upon them while weeding out and discarding the worst. This would require abandoning a Constitutional Originalism view which requires holding our society to a standard set by a group of men who couldn’t possibly predict the evolution of the country, or the world, two or three centuries beyond their lifespan and allowing for either a string of Amendments to update the the social contract they created. Or better yet, developing a whole new one to lead us into a better future for all.
The early steps toward accomplishing these lofty goals would require a revamping of our policing, sentencing, and incarceration practices to end the militarization of community police forces and the war mentality their current training instills. Also, it would be necessary to end inequitable justice in favor of rehabilitation instead of punishment for non-violent offenses through a means that was fair and just to all regardless of their societal status or means.
In turn, those things would require the establishment of universal health care and a universal basic income, along with public education. That health care must include mental health care and protective services for children and adults at risk of domestic violence due to their gender or sexual identities. These steps would dramatically reduce the frequency of violent crimes.
All of that would allow for companies to automate far more jobs without detriment to the economy supporting those companies. It would also require a return to much higher corporate and excess wealth taxes to offset the expenses. With companies no longer burdened with responsibility to provide health insurance, and workers no longer trapped with a specific employer to maintain access to health care or basic survivability, companies would be free to find other benefits to attract works to positions that could not be automated. Those workers would be motivated by something other than a simple paycheck to do the work they have chosen to do out of desire instead of necessity. Those not working would be free to pursue their passions without risk of financial ruin if it doesn’t work out; if they excel at those things they may even be able to monetize them for additional income if they were to chose to do so.
None of this will be easy. It will take require the strength and determination to break free of outdated beliefs and traditions that have become entrenched within our #Culturalinertia. It will take the fortitude to oust those in power that would resist it.
This is not something that will be achievable overnight. It is however, something that will never be achieved, if we aren’t aggressively striving to accomplish it.
Nobody ever becomes truly great at anything without putting in the time, resources, hard work, and effort to achieve and maintain it. Countries are no different.
If we want a great society, a great nation, or a great world, we have to build it.
Then we have to maintain it.