When Did America Stop Being Great?
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Politics and Activism

When Did America Stop Being Great?

An open letter to Donald Trump.

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When Did America Stop Being Great?
Chad Horwedel

I am proud to be an American. I am grateful for the freedoms that I have, and thankful for the brave people in the military who fight for these freedoms that I so easily take for granted each and every day. I am able to speak my mind, pursue a college education, and I am able to be a strong, independent woman--things that would not fly in other countries. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. I am a proud American and I love my country.

That being said, I get very upset when people disrespect our country. For example, the 1989 court case Texas V. Johnson set the precedent that under the first amendment, free speech can not prohibit the burning of the American flag. So that means that some punk ass kids can desecrate the symbol of our freedom, and legally get away with it. Try burning the flag in any other country, and you'll get jailed or hung. As it has been said time and time again, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." That is what makes America great.

So when Donald Trump used Ronald Reagan's 1979 quote, "Make America Great Again" as his campaign slogan, two things popped into my head. First, the history major in me noted how history is clearly repeating itself because Reagan ran for president in a time of high unemployment, inflation, and an overall horrible economy--something we are seeing again in 2016. Both Reagan and now Trump have capitalized on this slogan in order to convey that America is so terrible and they are single handedly going to, well, make it great. Again. Second of all, I thought, when did America stop being great?

I personally believe that Donald Trump is capitalizing on the politics of fear in order to appeal to the masses. People are fearful of the economy, the ISIS threat, and so on and so forth. Trump plays on this fear and paranoia throughout his usage of overly dramatic campaign rhetoric.

For instance, in talking about the issue of immigration, Trump refers to Mexicans as "rapists." He also calls for a ban of Muslims, saying that "they're not coming to this country if I'm president." These inflammatory remarks are not only insensitive, but dangerous in the sense that Trump is driving political parties into poor decision-making, thus undermining the ability of the United States to actually counter threats.

Let's take the 1950's as an example, where the Second Red Scare occurred after World War II. With the rise of communism in the former Soviet Union, people were terrified that it would infiltrate into the United States. Senator Joseph McCarthy capitalized on this fear by creating speeches, hearings, and investigations conducted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee. While McCarthyism searched for alleged communism, he violated civil liberties in the process. Over 50 years later, do we want that with Trumpism? History repeats itself.

Now I know what you may be thinking right about now based on the picture I just painted - that America isn't really so great. I'm not here to preach American Exceptionalism, but I truly feel that it is important to have pride in your roots, and my roots are very strong as a fourth generation American citizen. We, as a country are certainly not perfect, but what makes us so great is the freedom that we have, the freedom that we have to speak our minds, the freedom to be who we want to become, and the freedom to change who we are if we are not happy with ourselves.

America never stopped being great, and I am proud to be an American. And no, America does not need to be made great again, Trump.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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