Today America is in the throes of a political campaign probably unlike any since our founding as a nation. After years of watching a steady decline in America, a decline in virtually every aspect of American life including governance and society in general, Americans are sending a strong message to political elites and politicians generally that they’ve had enough.
After years of frustrations seeing no change in conditions in America, or at least change that will restore America’s basic freedoms and success, Americans have responded with loud voices. Emerging in this year’s Democrat and Republican presidential primaries are candidates that, even eight years ago, would have been considered extreme and on the fringe of American political thought. On the Democrat side you have a self-avowed socialist; some would say a Marxist, in Bernie Sanders. You also have Hillary Clinton, a woman with, at best, a checkered legal past and who unquestionably has a penchant for lies, untruths and manipulation.
On the Republican side you have a billionaire, some say narcissist, who promises to “make America great again.” It is under this rallying cry that Donald Trump defeated all other GOP challengers to now stand at the verge of gaining the official Republican presidential nomination. It is on this rallying cry, or some would say call to arms, that will be the central theme of this article.
For years Trump and non-Trump conservatives have witnessed a precipitous downturn in America. Things that were virtually unheard of and certainly seen as out of the mainstream if not completely unacceptable just 10 years ago are now literally main stream in America. Today Democrats, with power and influence from the White House, have managed to push an extreme agenda onto American life; including things like the legalization of gay marriage to now concerted efforts to institutionalize all bathrooms as transgender or gender neutral. Unfettered abortion, including partial birth abortion and infanticide, are being accepted by many Americans including some so called Christians. Many Americans, including Christians, who may not agree with these new lifestyles will generally remain silent for fear of physical and/or verbal retaliation, mocking and intimidation; all efforts to silence people into inaction. Christians who do stand on their faith are targeted, fined; threaten with physical harm and often times run out of business, all for exercising their Constitutional right of freedom of religion and standing up for their Judeo/Christian values.
We have members of violent black radical groups like Black Lives Matter being given legitimacy by accepting invitations to and visiting the White House to meet with the president. You have Christians around the world being targeted by Islamic terrorist; who are hung and crucified and yet our president does nothing to help but instead dictates that Muslims in war torn nations be allowed to immigrate to America and given preferential treatment.
So with the nation virtually imploding you have a new political star in Donald Trump offering to fix these issues and in doing so “make America great again”. So what or how does Trump plan to make America great again?
Many pundits say that Trump has been pretty vague as to how he will accomplish his goal but we do know this; Trump says that he will build a wall to prevent illegal immigration. Trump says that he will renegotiate trade deals that will favor American business and citizens. Trump will end political correctness and call a “spade a spade” even if he offends people in doing so. Importantly, Trump says that he will fix the Veterans Administration to ensure our Vets are treated with the care and attention they deserve. Sounds great but are these the fixes needed to make America great again? Are walls and renegotiated trade deals what is lacking in America? As a former executive I know that to fix a problem it is critical to know and understand the “root cause” or else you will spend a fortune in time and money adjusting or addressing the symptoms of the problem and not resolving the core issue. So what is the “root cause” of America’s problems and decline that Trump proposes to fix to make America great again?
“America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
The above quote was made by Alexis de Tocqueville. So, who was Alexis de Tocqueville and why did he see America as a great nation?
de Tocqueville was a Frenchman who traveled to America in the 1830s to discover the reasons for the incredible success of this new nation. He published a series of pamphlets describing his observations in his travels in America. The pamphlets comprised a two-volume work entitled, Democracy in America.
So what did de Tocqueville see as good in America. In his writings he stated:
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.
Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.
The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other
Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
According to de Toquiville, America’s greatness is not to be found in physical things like walls or trade deals. Fixing the VA or abandoning political correctness, while needed, won’t do it either. All of the above are mere symptoms to a greater problem. According to de Toquoville America’s greatness is in its people, a people rooted in Judeo/Christian values. So if America is broken, which most believe to be the case, then facts would suggest that Americans are no longer “good”.
As de Toqueville witnessed in his travels, especially to churches, what he saw was a virtuous and morally driven people; people with an awareness of their founding principles codified by the founding Fathers in our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, all of which had as their central theme principles taken from the holy scriptures. He saw people who were industrious, virtuous, hardworking, pious and seekers of truth. In those days a man’s word was his honor and a handshake was often all that was needed to seal an agreement. However, over the years there were changes in America. Americans became seekers of self-gratification, lovers of things. We replaced reverence for God with man and government. We’ve reached a point where people, who find honor and virtue in men using women restrooms, are considered enlightened and to be respected. So what happened? Are Americans no longer good and if not is America no longer great?
In the eyes of many, America is most assuredly on a downward spiral. Our leaders are untruthful, feckless, and dishonorable and in some cases crooked. Yet, if you understand our political system, these people/politicians should reflect America and our values. We get what we vote for and those elected reflect the will of the people. Today we have over a quarter of America enthralled over the prospect of voting for a man, Bernie Sanders, who is a self-avowed Socialist and perhaps, in reality, a Communist. I say the latter because Bernie was so enticed with the Communist ideology that he spent his honeymoon in the old Soviet Union when that country was America’s chief antagonist and military foe.
Communism has been responsible for the death of millions upon millions around the world yet Bernie’s supporters are either ignorant to these facts or don’t care and thus subscribe to the prospect of seeing failed communist policies implemented America. There is NO place on earth where either communism or socialism has succeeded or even marginally competed with the success of capitalism, yet, Bernie and his supporters want to see either of these ideologies inserted in our once great nation. Could people who support such a failed ideology be considered “good” by our nation’s historic Judeo/Christian principles or our Constitutional standards? Add to this, could people who support all forms of abortion, including infanticide, gay marriage, transgenderism, man boy relationships, removing God from the public square, just to name a few, be considered good. I say a resounding NO. So what about the remainder of Americans?
Another quarter of Americans appear ready and excited to vote for, what likely will be, an indicted criminal but at the very least a pathological liar and reckless politician with a long history of acting dishonorably and using her political office to further her financial interests and political power all to the detriment of Americans.
Another quarter of the American people are staunch Conservative Christian Constitutionalist who see our Founding documents as inspiration from God and who understand that, by God’s authority and grace, we have been given enormous blessings of wealth, spiritual vitality, religious liberty and with these as a nation we have lifted more people out of squalor, oppression and persecution than any other nation to ever exist.
The last quarter of Americans have been more recently defined. They are people who have presented themselves as constitutionalist and many as devout Christians. They have, like me, prayed that God provide a real conservative who understands our Founding principles and who understand that our greatness extends from these documents and our Judeo/Christian principles. However, in this election cycle they have put aside these values and beliefs to support a man who, many would say, is the antithesis of Judeo/Christian values; a man who says he is a Christian yet admits to never having asked for God’s forgiveness or saving grace because, as he says, he’s not done anything that requires such contriteness.
These Americans, like me and many other conservatives, have been horrified at the destruction of America economically, socially, spiritually and militarily but unlike me and many constitutional conservatives, they have chosen to give voice to a man who they see as one who will exact revenge on those doing harm to the nation and who will allegedly fix the things that have lessen America’s greatness. The man they support has, at best, a checkered pass with women, business dealings and who for the greater part of his life, advanced ideas and principles that are contrary to the things that made us great in the first place. These Americans, although well intended, I refer to as Progressive Conservatives; those who have abandoned their core beliefs in hopes of putting a man into power who, until only recently, financed and supported far left people and organizations. They have opted to support a man who virtually promises to use his power, perhaps even by force, to imprint his will on America and its people; all, ostensibly, to make America great again.
So, with America divided as described, will fixing and making us great again be a simple matter of building a wall or renegotiating trade deals? Will trade deals see a return to common sense that men and women should not share restrooms? Will building a wall undo the advancement of sexual immorality in gay marriage or the societal embrace of transgenderism? Will America become great again by exacting revenge on those who have clearly done and are doing harm to America? I say no! What America needs is to recognize, as de Toquiville did, what made us great in the first place; our, the American people’s, adherence to Judeo/Christian values and to the Constitution.
At the same time Americans should realize that greatness does not equate to perfection, only our principles are perfect because they are based on God’s word. We must understand that as humans we have faults and will fail but if we understand the perfection in our principles and we set our motivation to fix our flaws based on these principles, then by pursuing this course we not only fix our human imperfections we will also fix America making her great again.