The Rockford Files

Let America Be America

Donald Trump claims he will make America great again.  Hillary Clinton responds that America has never quit being great.  Bernie Sanders seems to have his doubts that America has ever been great, but he would be happy to try to make her so if only the American people would give him the power to make America something other than America.  And Ted Cruz knows that America will seem great by comparison once he has reduced the Middle East and Russia to wastelands of glowing sand.

Growing up in West Michigan in the recession of the late 1970’s and early 80’s, I knew that times were hard, but I didn’t need anyone to tell me that America was great, or that she had once been so and could be again.  The Reagan vision, in his 1984 reelection campaign, of “Morning Again in America” was no more profound than the slogans of today’s presidential candidates, but it was qualitatively different.  It acknowledged that the United States had been through a rough patch recently—as those of us here in the Rust Belt of the Upper Midwest could certainly testify—but implicitly recognized that such times were to be expected every once in a while.  The Great Depression was only two generations back; as their parents had taught them, our parents taught us not to waste water and to turn off the lights when we weren’t using them and to reuse (something different from recycling)...

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