My fellow Americans, are you pleased with the most luxurious blanket of manure under which we are being buried?
One of the frontrunners in the upcoming presidential election — 14 months from now — foams at the mouth as he urges us to believe that he’s going to make America great again. He is an outspoken, crass, rich loudmouth, coming out of his towering hidey-hole to save us from our brown neighbors, whom he calls robbers, rapists and murderers.
Other than the fact that he will be long gone by the time this group of wannabee “contestants” is winnowed down to the “losers” remaining after he fizzles, there is the fact that until then, apparently entertainment-starved viewers keep him fueled up and running in a most unhealthy way.
I, for one, actively attempt ignoring him, as if he were a mosquito in my tent. He bites, it itches, I scratch; eventually he dies, even if he gets additional punctures into me. I don’t have a long-lasting scar but I have a memory of discomfort that makes me wary whenever I hear that high-pitched buzzing thereafter.
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I’ll concede one point: America has been “great,” to use his undefined and hijacked term. What makes it great? Is it rich folks like him, bullying everyone in his way, buying up land and turning it into gaudy gold buildings? Is it great because a wealthy, white majority culture has ruled communication, government, education, business, employment, housing and a racial social landscape for most of what is still its infancy?
No. America attained its greatness by grudgingly entering into wars that were already in progress, or needed to be waged. We were also lucky to have certain gifted citizens temporarily suspend their private ability to make money and instead run for public office, such as Abe Lincoln and Barack Obama. We called ourselves great by overrunning a continent that was already inhabited and developing it as if it were our own discovery.
If I could be so bold as to substitute another word, which isn’t as popular (or tired, or overused) as “great,” but is possibly more descriptive of America, it would be “opportunistic.” There’s nothing wrong with being opportunistic, except that the intent of an opportunist is usually personal. If you are looking for personal opportunity, it may be because you are looking for work.
But if you are a country looking for opportunity, you are probably acting in the interest of the majority. In this case, the immigrant European majority was able to wrangle raw materials, land and people into the “greatness” that survives today at the expense of the native people already here and the Africans trafficked here and pressed into slavery.
When the aforementioned blowhard refers to success, he is sadly mistaking power and money for greatness. Ask an African-American who lived during the 1950s and ’60s to tell you about America’s greatness, and you may be surprised that he or she may have a different memory of greatness.
One great thing about our country is that anyone who is born here could become president. With a self-defined billionaire throwing his ignorant, off-color opinions around, and other candidates insisting that Muslims are dangerous, this doesn’t seem so cool anymore, does it?
These people taking up our time so far in advance of next year’s contest are deluded and refer to an imaginary past. The fear they try to stir up in us, that our “great” past will never exist again, is a lie.
Yet we sit in front of our TVs and critique which of them is more credible, more ridiculous, the least forceful, the most “informed.” They are stepping all over each other trying to create an illusion that they can restore something that was not there for everyone.
What is missing from this array of candidates is the kind of decent, smart person we want to see as our president. The current frontrunner is a hideous clown, and Americans love clowns.
They say outrageous and raunchy things. Presidents usually don’t.
A president knows something about the world besides how to bully other people. A president knows how to use diplomacy and compromise to achieve greatness.
Freelance columnist Ellen Murphy writes in this space once a month.