We will never forget Donald Trump's 2016 campaign slogan. Even though Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both used "Make America Great Again" as well, we all know Trump personalized it.
However, what Trump revealed to so many people is that America is not, and never was, that great. A lot of people dismiss criticisms of America as something one might say if they want to be edgy. People hate on America to rebel against their parents.
I am not trying to do that, I simply believe the very soul of America is tarnished, and if you take a minute to truly look at what America was built on and what it was meant to represent, you'll realize how disgusting it really is.
America is not great for one reason, and that is apathy. Now, when I say this, people immediately agree. They talk about how depressingly low voter turnout is, how young people do not register to vote, and so on. I tell them that they still miss the point. I believe the project, the entire system of America, was designed to induce apathy.
When civil rights protestors were having dogs set upon them and their skin peeled off from fire hoses, we claim to demonize the people that fired the hoses and the people that ordered it. However, have we really done anything to reform the police system since then? If anything, the police are now more easily able to do awful things to citizens with impunity. And so many politicians serving today condemn modern day Civil Rights protestors.
Yes it is true that in 1964, Lyndon Johnson was re-elected in a landslide, but Americans never reckon with the fact that Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, the Bushes, and now Trump were able to chip away at civil rights and the New Deal until now there's almost nothing left of some of the institutions and legislation that saved this country.
If you want a more recent example, look no further than at how federal employees were treated during the most recent government shutdown, when it was revealed that they were living paycheck to paycheck.
People immediately began blaming the workers' misfortunes on the workers themselves and demanded to know why they haven't been saving and budgeting properly. And I won't go in depth, but the bottom line is: people think they shouldn't care about their fellow citizens. Why do you think there is such militant opposition to Medicare For All?
Americans are terrified of the idea of their taxes going up, even if the money goes to help people. Why are we against helping each other? Americans are devout individualists, people claim this is what sets us apart. They call it "freedom."
One needs only to look at the high schoolers that protested gun violence. Their elders responded with "you can't come and take my guns!" When young people accurately point out how the system is already set up against them, you hear "pull yourself up by your bootstraps!" Everybody has bootstraps they need pulling up, but why?
It's because American laissez-faire capitalism has taught the citizens that everyone is inherently selfish, but that is a good thing because it drives the economy, and everybody is your rival. To white people, they say, "that black man got the promotion because of affirmative action." To the baby boomer, they say "that millennial wants your money."
When greed fuels the economy and people are put against each other, you're going to have a country full of people that hate each other. People always talk about how polarized our politics are and how divided we are.
The divide is deeper than Democrats vs. Republicans. It's about the entire system of hatred towards one another. If you want to heal the divide, America has to divorce itself from rugged individualism and reject the divisive nature of capitalism.