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When Was America Great?

Updated on March 30, 2019
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Jack is retired. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


The election of President Trump and the slogan MAGA has created a controversy among some Americans. They believe Trump want to make America White again, implying this is a racist slogan. The media also propagate this notion every turn. A student wearing a MAGA hat was diciplined by the school administrator. A customer at a restaurant was denied service. What’s next?

- Mar. 2019

When Was America Great?

To explain MAGA, it requires a bit of history. In order to Make America Great Again, it would have to be great at one time in the past...and due to circumstances, not great later. When was that?

For me, it would be during the Reagan years, 1980-1988. Reagan was the first to use this term. It was the previous 4 years under Jimmy Carter that saw America in decline. With the oil crisis and the Iran hostage that lasted 444 days, Reagan was elected to be that agent of change. His promise of that shining city on the hill, beacon of freedom. America was going to be leader of the free world. Challenge the evil empire of the Soviet Union. Defeat communism and bring prosperty to the whole world. His tax reform was historic and created the longest economic boom in history.

In the election of 1984, Reagan won 49 of the 50 States in electoral votes, a real landslide. The country was unified at least on the foreign policy front. There was disagreements about domestic policies.

On the big pictiure, Reagan got it right. America was strong again.

Make America Great Again

In 2016, Trump revived this theme of MAGA for his campaign slogan. He was referring to the last 8 years under President Obama, and to a limited extent, the 8 years prior under GW Bush. America was in decline for a period. We were losing grounds on the world stage. The Iraq war took its toll. The war in Afghanistan became the longest conflict in our nation’s history with no clear end in sight. ISIS was on the rise again. Our national debt doubled under Bush and doubled again under Obama.

Our borders are porous with illegal immigrants, drug smugglers, human trafficker, and terrorists having an easy crossing. Wages have been staggering, and manufacturing jobs have been outsourced to overseas.

Obama’s foreign policy of “lead from behind” was not working. No other nation or alliance of nations took the lead. The world was a more dangerous place.

Even race relations took a few steps back. The election of the first black president was suppose to be a breakthrough. Yet, with every race incident, Obama took the low road and made things worse.

What About the Race Charge?

This is a red herring. America was never that white to begin with. We are a nation of immigrants. Each generation has a wave of immigrants from all over the world. We had restrictions in the past and will have again based on our needs.

The current crisis on our southern border is not about keep out Hispanics. We allow over 1 million legal immigrants to come here every year, from all over the world. It is about the following four key points.

  • economy and wages
  • illegal drugs and criminal activities
  • potential terrorists
  • preventing diseases

Each of these are major long term impact on our well being as a sovereign nation.

If the same extent was happening on our northen border, we would react the same. That is why it is not about race. It is more about the economic stability of our nation. We have a stagnant work force for quite some time. We have wages at the entry level that has not kept up with inflation. The main cause is supply and demand. When there is abundant supply of low skilled workers, it kept the wages low as well.

What Did Some Democrats Got It Wrong?

One promenant Democrat, Governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo actually was quoted saying “America was never that great...”

These Democrats are wrong about who America is all about. We are not about open borders. We are not about sanctuary cities. We are not about a white privileged society. We are about the rule of law. We are about equality of opportunity. We are about free enterprise and upward mobility. We are about capitalism at its best and creating wealth and opportunity for all citizens and immigrants.

We want America to be great again as when Reagan was in office. He was for the common man. A good job and an opportunity to make a living and support their families. We want a strong America to be the leader of the free world, to defeat ISIS and tyranny every where.

Governor Cuomo of NY

Progressives Claim They Are More Nuanced

They paint their opposition as too simple, one of two extremes. They believe in the grey zone. Yet, when it comes to the borders, they refuse to contemplate that some Americans just want the rule of law to be followed. You can be for border control and still be for legal immigration. In fact, they go hand in hand. It is not a racist act for wanting ICE to control our borders. We want people to immigrate here legally.

The same goes with race relations. We can have a view that our nation is not a racist country but individuals may have bigotry in their hearts. It is not a contradiction. There are institutional racism and they are different than individual racism. Our country went through many iterations including a civil war to end slavery. We are now in 2019 pretty much free of institutional racism. There will always be individual cases of racist acts. They can be dealt with through our laws. They should not be used to stir up racial prejudice.

Another issue deals with climate change. Progressives believe man is the cause of recent global warming. Anyone who questions this theory are called “climate deniers” and grouped with the flat earth society. However, there are many other shades. I am a skeptic when it comes to AGW. Not because I don’t agree with climate scientists. I just question their projections and the dire nature they anticipate will come our way. You can be for a clean environment and still question the theory that CO2 is a pollutant.


Make America Great Again is just a campaign slogan. It is not racist to want America to be better. We are a great nation because we are the envy of the world. That is why people risk their lives to come here. It is a great country and can be better still.

My hope is that this article clear up the misconception.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jack Lee


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