Because of the new "Make America Great Again," frenzy, I decided to re-write and enhance a previous blog titled, "The Way We Were," especially considering the current political climate. My first question is a simple one for Donald Trump and his followers, "Could you be more specific about the meaning of the slogan, "Make America Great... Again?"
Do you mean "Make America Great Again," the way it was, prior to the various haplogroups crossing the Bering land bridge? What an amazing place America must have been. The unspoiled beauty and majesty, wow! No traffic, no pollution, no reruns of The Apprentice. Sign me up! Imagine back then, when the original tribe living in America, saw a new tribe arrive that didn't look like them or come from the same cave system? I could hear it now, "We're going to ship all 11 of those illegal nomads back to where they came from and then build a wall with a door in it." The only thing that stopped them was, they didn't know what a door was.
Or perhaps you mean to imply "Make America Great Again," as in the 1500's when the Spaniards settled here. Ah, those were the good ol' days, when you could enslave an entire population of indigenous people and not have to worry about pesky unions or labor laws. Scott Walker would be orgasmic. Could someone really miss the days when people actually tried to force other people into their own religious beliefs? Wait a second, this is sounding eerily familiar?
Wait, maybe, "Make America Great Again," is about when the Pilgrims came 40 years after the Spaniards, to start Jamestown. That must be it for sure. Imagine, there were no background checks for your guns back then. This place must have been heavenly. Even though the Pilgrims arrived in Jamestown in 1607, I bet by 1610, there were a few outspoken indigenous tribal chiefs grousing, "I don't care that these "Pilgrims," have been here for several years, they're "illegal" and letting them stay, still amounts to amnesty. They're a bunch of criminals and rapists. They're going to completely wreck our health care system, with measles and smallpox and don't get me started about them ruining our financial system with derivatives and stock swaps, just you wait and see." Talk about insensitive and isolationist. Was America so "Great" back then? Maybe not.
Then there's the 1950's America. That surely must be the America, Trump and Ted Cruz are referring to. Most everyone on TV and in films were white (Some things never change; see this years Oscar nominations). Families had dinners at diners, with signs that said, "No Negroes, Mexicans or Dogs allowed." There were cool cars and fun happy go lucky music. That surely must be the "Great America," that everyone is looking for. Then again "The Blacks," "The Hispanics," and "The Gays," were beaten and abused just for looking or being "different." As they would have said back then, "Gee whiz, that's not cool." And here I thought we were doing so swell on our search for the Great America. So I guess it's not the 50's.
Wait a second. Maybe America's Great right now and people just don't realize it. I remember going to a 4th of July parade last summer, in a small suburb near downtown Los Angeles. The scene was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. There were American flags everywhere. A young lanky boy, slurping his ice cream cone, as it melted. Hard working able-bodied men, showing off their muscles to their girlfriends. Two teenagers sharing an awkward moment. A mother and father, walking proudly next to their son, decked out in his Marine Dress Blues.
The dynamics of patriotism, food, hard work, and especially family, were everywhere. Now that's an America that sounds "Great," to me. Sure there were more people selling burritos than hot dogs, but burritos are probably healthier for you anyway. And of course the usual, corn on a stick was for sale, with a slight enhancement of chili powder. As I think back, I realize that if Norman Rockwell were to return today and repaint his masterpieces, the only real adjustment he would have to make for the "Americans" at the 4th of July parade that I attended, would be a little darker pigmentation in his paint. You see the Americans at the parade were predominantly Latino, African American and Asian by culture, but nonetheless, damn proud Americans. And it's okay to be both. As a matter of fact, it's a good thing.
So next time, you hear anyone say, "Make America Great Again." Ask them to open their eyes and look around, but this time, without judgment. America is "Great," right now! Carly Simon said it beautifully in a song, "These are the good old days." Then invite them to join me this 4th of July at that wonderful little parade again. The burritos are the "Greatest."