Presidential hopeful Donald J. Trump wants to do just that. An excellent aim. I agree.
And to do that, it is important to look back at the history of America. What made America great to begin with, so much so that many longed to come here?
Freedom. It is this single word that inspired our founding fathers–freedom from the tyranny of the British crown.
In the words of one of those founders, John Adams, “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people”.
What knowledge does he mean? Let’s look at the formulation of America by the founders. It was a representative democracy–an entirely new experiment in the history of nation states, which included a system of checks and balances. This new nation gave each citizen the power and the right to elect a representative to govern and lead on behalf of the citizens. (At present, many citizens do not exercise this right, yet complain about government.) This body of elected officials (Congress) was empowered by the people, for the people, to legislate laws and policies that served the greater good of all citizens (not corporations).
The freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness remains a cornerstone of America. However, a fear consciousness threatens that foundation. That freedom is guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, creed, color, or religion.
If we impede the rights of other citizens, if we succumb to that fear consciousness, then we begin to erode the very key that makes America great.
In the past, America has shown itself to be great through demonstrations of fairness, generosity, strength of might, and rule of law.
For example, freedom led America to lead the world in innovation and industry, such as in the 19th century. In 1853, American steam-powered warships arrived off the coast of Japan, not for conquest, rather for opening trade. Japan was a closed and isolated culture that had never seen steamships, nor revolvers. That isolation made them fearful(1).
Another example, in 1872, America established the first National Park–Yellowstone. The idea was to set aside regions within the country so that they could be enjoyed and shared with the citizens, and with foreign visitors. These places are the nation’s common ground. They belong to the people, but not for economic exploitation, which had occurred at Niagara Falls(2)
America is not made great because of its economy and capitalist-based mode of operation. These last two factors are merely byproducts of the original foundation–freedom.
Let’s make America great again, through a knowledgeable and free citizenry. Then, we will not need false leaders with empty promises.
- Walworth, Arthur. Black Ships Off Japan: The Story of Commodore Perry’s Expedition. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1966.
- “This Land Is Your Land.” National Geographic, January 2016, p. 24-47.
(For more on America’s identity, read Deadly Exchange, an award winner thriller.)
Donald Trump, America, Constitution, Founding Fathers, public lands, Malheur Preserve