What Does ‘Make America Great Again’ Mean + Other President Trump Questions [OPINION]
Now that this election is finally over, and Donald J. Trump is officially the President elect, I find myself wondering what exactly did America just vote for, among other things. Perhaps, you Trump people can help me out here.
So right up front, I feel that I need to let you, the Trump supporter, know that I'm not here to bash our next president. I'm a Bernie supporter who reluctantly voted for Hillary, because Donald Trump's message just didn't connect with me. Now that I, and many others like me, are coming to the realization that last night was not some sort of nightmarish fever dream, and this is really, actually going to happen in real life, like, for real -- I'd like to ask for your help. I know things haven't been very civil between us this election cycle, but like your guy said last night -- it's time for us to "bind the wounds of division."
In the spirit of this renewed sense of togetherness, I'd like it very much if you could help me understand what this movement is about for you... and now -- us. There is much I don't understand about Trump's campaign and impending presidency, but I, and many others like me, would like to help move this country forward together with you. Without further explanation, here are the things I still don't get.
What Does "Make America Great Again" Mean?
Usually, a slogan wouldn't be such a big deal, but it has been the one rock solid constant of Trump's campaign. I understand that America has done better economically in the past, but is that the only past greatness for which we're striving? There are many Americans who would tell you that there was no time in the past where America was "great" for them. Specifically, almost everyone except for heterosexual white males. Considering that, and the makeup of the voter turnout, you can see why one might suspect it's about "Making America White Again" for some.
This is why we're all so afraid of this slogan, because it's basically a "choose your own adventure" platform. It's so vague that anyone can project their dreams for this country onto it, no matter how disgusting, and I suspect many have done just that. Are you going to get the brand of former greatness for which you voted? I don't think any of us will know that answer for a while, and it will most certainly not be "yes" for every one of you.
Are We Really Building a Wall?
Is this still a thing? It seemed as if Trump slowly backed away from talking about the wall toward the end of his campaign. In fact, I haven't heard him say much about it in the general election at all. So tell me -- are we still doing this? Is it something that we even care enough about to go through with, because it's going to be really, really, expensive. Like, roughly $25 Billion expensive, and I'm pretty sure Mexico is not going to pay for it.
I don't know how many movies you've watched about drug trafficking and the like, but people already use tunnels to get from Mexico to the U.S. How is a wall going to stop that? It'd be like putting really, really expensive traffic cones at the bottom of the ocean in an effort to keep sharks away from the shore. I'm not saying Mexicans are sharks, but that's the best analogy I could come up with about futile preventative boundaries at the moment. I'm hungover, give me a break here.
Are We Banning Muslims?
A lot has been said during this campaign. I get it -- these things get messy over the course of an election. One thing I'm very interested to see is if Trump was serious about some of the more extreme things he's said. Say what you will about Trump, but he's not stupid. He's very skilled at knowing what people want to hear. He understands that sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get the job done, and if that means looking bad in a certain battle to win the war -- so be it.
Were some of his more extreme stances simply talking points to exploit the fears of Americans and get their vote? It's a risky play, but he knew no one else would go there. The thing is, will he actually go there? I hope not. I understand wanting to be safe, but it can't come at the cost of abandoning the very thing this country was founded on -- freedom to practice the religion of your choice without persecution. Once we start down that road, it opens the door to a whole new era of terrifying discriminatory policies that many of us assumed were behind us.
What is Trump's Strategy for Renegotiating Our Trade Deals?
One of the only things I heard Trump talk about that I could get behind were his feelings about free trade. The way he talked about our trade deals wasn't all that different from how Senator Sanders talked about them, which I liked. However, he was way too vague about them to earn my vote. Simply saying "we're going to have the best deals" isn't a strategy, it's a radio commercial for the Labor Day sale at ABC Warehouse.
Renegotiating our trade deals will be a very delicate and difficult task. Yes it would be cool to get some of our manufacturing jobs back, but outsourcing wasn't the only thing that hurt the industry. The drastic increase in automation capabilities over the last 30 years played a huge role as well. So the question is, how many jobs are out there that we can actually bring back, and at what cost?
What Are We Replacing Obamacare With?
Another case where, "we're going to replace it with something so much better" falls miles short of being considered an actual plan. I recall him once saying something like, "You're going to have so many choices, you won't believe it." You're right -- I don't believe it. The Affordable Care Act has plenty of room for improvement, but show me some plans, man. Then we'll believe you.
Is He Really Going to Lock Her Up?
Now that this is over, we're going to find out whether Donald's disdain for Hillary Clinton was a tactic or something he seriously feels. Feeding people's fears about the Clintons was incredibly successful for Trump, and really -- he didn't have many other lanes to play in. He couldn't beat her on policy or experience, and at that point you have to look at what's left -- integrity. That's what he exploited, and it worked.
Is he really going to open another investigation into her emails though? They've spent so much time, money, and resources investigating these Hillary Clinton "scandals," and have come up with nothing every single time. Now that she's no longer a political threat to the Republicans, are we going to see their witch hunt come to an end? Was it all political strategy, or do they really think she deleted emails in which she told the ghost of Osama Bin Laden how to do Benghazi, and that the Clinton Foundation is a front for an international child sex trafficking ring? I guess we'll find out.
Who is Donald Trump?
Something myself and others have suspected during his campaign, is that Donald Trump has been playing a character. Like I said, he's very gifted at knowing what people need to hear. Was he saying whatever it took to get the job done, or his this the real Donald J.Trump?
If this was all an act -- what is his real agenda? Will his policies even resemble those that he sold to his electorate? His previous stances on some of these issues and his current stance are night and day. Yes, people can change, but did he? How will that affect the now-complete Republican majority? They will not be able to control him, so it will be very interesting to see what happens when there is dissent between him and the party.
I Could, Literally, Keep Asking Questions Forever... But I Won't
I initially thought I only had a few questions, but once I started writing, I realized that there is so much I don't understand about this decision, the people of our country, and our future. Unlike some, I'm not giving up on us. I hope that I've been wrong about Trump. I hope he can truly "make America great again," but not if that means reverting to a time when only the rich white man succeeded at the cost and peril of all others. That's not my America. That's not our America. That's the past, and we're done with it... Hopefully.
The other thing I worry about is that it might be difficult to put this behind us and move forward together. I fear there are many people that voted with hate in their hearts, and this victory may have emboldened them to drag that hatred back into the light. It would be a shame if all the progress we've made in the arena of tolerance for one another goes out the window. Despite us being closer to equality for all people than ever before -- we still had so much more work to do. Let's all just agree to be excellent to each other, cool? Cool. See ya out there, America.