Donald Trump ripped off Ronald Reagan’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” A campaign slogan is all Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump has in common. In 1980, I was proud to be a Reagan Republican. I was proud because he wanted to lift the nation up rather than tear it down at every turn.
Ronald Reagan believed in the American public. He believed that if government got out of the way, and would allow us the ingenuity of America’s people shine through, it would reshape not only the nation but also reshape the world.
Reagan was right about that. During Reagan’s time in office, in spite of the bitching and complaining about how much money he was spending, we set the stage for big growth in the US economy. New businesses started, new technologies were invented, and we exported freedom around the world.
The USA has created more inventions than any other nation in the world. In fact, I don’t know if anyone has counted, but I would be willing to bet the USA created more inventions since 1900 than all other nations combined. That has not changed and won’t change unless we become protectionists and engage in trade wars.
We have this drive to invent because we are free to do so. One of the reasons we have this success is because we are one of the most socially mobile societies in the world. Try moving out of one’s class in Europe and see how well you do. In America, we judge people on their individual traits and much less on their class than other nations do.
We have respect for the average working person in the USA. Tradesmen and merchants are often looked down upon in other places in the world. Not in the USA. Those who work with their hands and toil are given the same rights and respect as those who are born to privilege, under the law.
In fact, even the poorest in the USA have a pretty good life compared to other places. I recall the 1980s when the Soviet Union shot a documentary about the USA for Russian television. They went into some of the poorest homes in America and talked with the residents.
It totally backfired on the Soviets. The average Soviet saw the poor in supermarkets whose shelves were filled with food, unlike their own. They saw the poor who had telephones, and owned cars and microwave ovens. It made the average Soviet question what they had been told about Capitalism and the West. While it was supposed to be a show that embarrassed Reagan, it actually embarrassed Soviet leadership.
This bleak narrative of decay the Trump crowd promotes just doesn’t exist in reality. Even here in Illinois which is at the bottom of most rankings, we have a 5.3% unemployment rate. That is hardly reflective of the wide-spread misery the Trump gang whines about.
I understand many have lost their manufacturing jobs. Guess what? The big culprit is not Mexico or China. The losses are because of our on inventiveness. Automation, in the particularly widespread use of Robotics in the manufacturing process, has caused worker displacement.
Most people don’t bother to look for the statistics. If they did look, they would find manufactured goods outputs are the same, or higher while there has been a drop in manufacturing jobs. That is not a paradox. That is automation and no amount of beating on Mexico or China will change that.
What will change the loss of manufacturing jobs is MORE TRADE and not trade protectionism. Trump knows this, yet he continues to mislead American workers. For American workers, you have to get training and accept the fact that if you have a job today there is no guarantee that job will exist tomorrow. To keep pace, we need to stimulate more enterprise development. That is counter to protectionism which makes enterprises smaller and not competitive.
We are also a Great Nation because of our immigration policies. Men like Tony Maglica, who got off the boat from Bosnia in shoes that had no soles and went on to create Mag Instruments that makes Mag-Lite flashlights is why we need a liberal immigration policy. Closing off borders is something we do at our own peril. Tony isn’t the only example. I can recite story, after story, after story of immigrants who have arrived and made us better.
We are also great because of our dedication to the law. How about Due Process, do you like that one? That is why the government can’t just come take you, throw you in a jail cell somewhere and not charge you and not tell your family. We take it for granted. We shouldn’t. Go get thrown in jail in Belarus, Ukraine, or Russia and see how that goes.
The people who talk about America not being great and needing to be remade don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, we need more good jobs in America. That does not come from isolationism. Yes, we need more retraining in America and that is not up to the government. Let me float a very Republican idea that is not very popular with the GOP these days. You personally have to take responsibility for your life and seek out the training you need to make your life better.
Frankly, I’m shocked to hear the GOP rely so heavily on government. I’m glad Ronald Reagan is gone and can’t see or hear what passes itself off as Republican these days. It would have killed him for sure.
America is great, hasn’t stopped being great and only will cease being great if you continue on the Trump agenda which is contrary to everything that is good about America.
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