People are scared, scared that our current way of life is on its way out, and the power and privilege they once were given without question may diminish. It is that fear that has propelled a glorified con man to the forefront of the political arena for the Republican party. He is promising them that he will return this country to greatness. There’s no need for that. It’s true that many of the things that made this country great isn’t present. The certainty of an ability to afford a home if even one family member worked a full time job. The certainty that a college education would benefit you, and not leave you riddled with debt. The certainty that by working hard, you could make sure to give your children a better way of life than the one you led.
These certainties turned out, are not so certain anymore. The millennials and generations following are facing what will be the greatest test of our nation to date. How to move forward with weights holding us back. There is an incorrect belief is that if we could just go back, go back to the way things were before, it will all be better again. First of all, we can’t go back. Just as we can’t change that incredibly awkward encounter in 9th grade no matter how many times it repeats in your head 20 years later, we can no more easily go back to a time when we granted less freedoms, but as a country were considered on top of the world. When you hear “I’ll make this country great again like it was before,” what you’re really hearing is “I’ll give back the power to those white men who you’re not scared of, even though you should be.” The past is whitewashed, not just in the telling of its history, but in who could be in charge. Women, minorities, and the LGTBQ community would not usually choose to go back to the 50’s, or even the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, they might say we have yet to reach a point they would wish to get to.
But I get the fantasy. It’s the fantasy that you won’t live in your parent’s house at 30 and it be normal because even though you have a good job, you can’t afford rent and food. It’s the fantasy that you could pay off that education because you chose a path the better yourself through learning, although it is not a necessary path for everyone. It’s the fantasy, that getting sick won’t risk everything you’ve ever earned, just to survive. These are fantasies despite the overwhelming advances we’ve made. At no other time have we been able to more effectively and efficiently tackle any problem, and yet the cost is there. Things aren’t getting better even though they’re getting easier.
The real way to “make America great again” is to move forward, while remembering the true lessons of our past. But that’s way back. Back to a point where this nation understood the importance of the “melting pot,” of progress in science, technology, and education. I’m not saying the past looked kindly on the individual, that’s where we must move forward, but the ideologies of those who created the nation, and the dream of what an individual of any standing could achieve is vital to remember as we decide our path. We don’t need to go back to when prejudice was deemed appropriate and justified. We need to move forward to realize we need to be utilizing the potential of everyone out there. Because we don’t need 60 hour workweeks, we know that, the technology is there to prevent the need, and yet we’re more trapped than ever before.
So the next time someone wants to take you back, first envision what moving forward could look like if we worked together for a better tomorrow. For your pleasure, I’ve listed some of the more relevant quotes from two of our most world-shaping founding fathers(one an immigrant!) and FDR, the creator of the New Deal, as we face a time when it is time to revisit what our society’s Deal to us is.
- A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.
- There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.
- Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.
- In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
- Learn to think continentally.
- To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people, each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection.
- Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.
- We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.
- Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.
- Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
- Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
- Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder
- I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
- There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.
- For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
- All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
- The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
- Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
- It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
- We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.
- If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.
- There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
- Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.
- True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
- The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
- The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.
- Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion
- Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something.
- No government can help the destinies of people who insist in putting sectional and class consciousness ahead of general weal.
Our authors want to hear from you! Click to leave a comment