I thought it sounded familiar!
We said it first, here. In these very pages! It was all the way back in September of 2014!
We preceded the exhortation with some background, here:
It pains me to say it, but America was perfectly mediocre under Jimmy Carter. On a precipitous path of decline, we watched as it became difficult simply to go to work for the gas lines. We prepared ourselves to accept double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment as “normal.” We watched as the forces of death and destruction seemed to be on an irreversible ascendancy. Jabbering thugs had taken over Iran, in a coup that continues to harm the world to this day. The Soviet Union had recently invaded and pacified Czechoslovakia; North Vietnam had overrun South Vietnam and was busy killing and “re-educating” hundreds of thousands; The Khmer Rouge were raining death upon millions of Cambodians; left-wing dictatorship after left-wing dictatorship after left-wing dictatorship was sweeping across Africa, South America. Europe had embraced a kind of half-way socialism that rejected all that had made her great. We were doomed.
In that passage we were setting the stage for this passage:
Then we weren’t.
A single great American stood athwart history and yelled, “Stop!” and others took notice. And we just stopped being mediocre. Why? Because we could.
Reagan took over in 1981, and indicated that we might want to get our collective heads out of our collective navels and set about the task of making America great again. It’s no fun to be mediocre; to get our clocks cleaned by gibbering thugs; to watch as gangsters and goons swarm over the rest of the world spreading death and destruction everywhere. So we stopped. Reagan suggested that we cut it out, and we did.
It pains me to say this too: We’re mediocre again.
The background was the story of the Carter Administration, which led to the Reagan Administration. Reagan flat-out rejected the failurism (not our coinage, but I wish it were!) of Jimmy Carter, and was elected overwhelmingly.(1)
Here’s the relevant quote:
We don’t do that merely by serving America, but also by making America, as each succeeding generation does, whether it wants to or not. To make America great, we must be great. To make America great, we must be good.
That piece also contained this passage, which is a neat summation of the near decade of failurism that was the Obama Administration:
We’re watching in dismay as the rest of the world burns, while we seem as impotent to do a thing about it as an old, old man. Our President — lauded by the press and the beautiful people, and himself, as always the “smartest man in the room” — fails and fails and fails and fails and fails yet again. Our Secretary of State — praised as the Master of Nuance — fails and fails and fails and fails again. Our previous Secretary of State — hailed as the “Smartest Woman in the World” — failed and failed and failed and failed and failed again. On their watch, literally nothing in the world has improved. Nothing. People die by scores in Africa from disease, violence, and just ages-old African-ness; likewise people die in droves in the Middle East, Asia, Russia, Ukraine, South America and elsewhere, pummeled by merciless petty tyrants into the dust; once again the gibbering goons burble and jabber as they hack the heads off men, then thrust those severed heads into our living rooms, confident that they will never pay for the atrocity. Meanwhile, men and women here work three jobs — each — just to keep a roof over their heads. Highly-educated Americans languish in unemployment, because their skills are unwanted in a country that has regulated and dammed and strangled a once-mighty river of innovation into a drip-drip-drip trickle.
“American might” has turned into “America won’t,” and the rest of the world has noticed. The gibbering goons are rushing to fill the vacuum, as we watch in sclerotic dismay.
It doesn’t take much. Either to save this country, and much of the world, as Americans did in the early eighties — or to bring her back to her knees as we then did in the 2010’s.
Still, to save America, we have to make an effort.
So, Make America Great Again! And why? Because we said it here first! 🙂
(1) Americans don’t want failure! The slogan “Make America Great Again!” was a bit of political genius. We’ve gone back and forth since Carter; fom failurism to rejection of failurism. We had the caution of the first George Bush — which in these times really represents failurism, followed by the wackiness, silliness, unseriousness and sexual tomfoolery of Bill Clinton. Clinton, though, benefited from the Pax Americanus of Reagan, and didn’t mess things up overly much. His foreign policy was marked by the catastrophic failure to take Osama bin Laden into custody when he could have. Bottom line: Clinton was a failurist.
Along came George Bush the second, who absolutely rejected failurism, who won the war in Iraq, who subdued the Taliban in Afghanistan, but who was too liberal in domestic policy. Not a failurist, but not great.
Bush was followed by the ultimate failurist, Barack Obama, who allowed the psychotic baboons of ISIS to coalesce, to prosper and thrive, and who then gave Iraq back to the thugs. Obama gave us the ultimate clarion call of failurism: “Lead from behind.”
America responded by electing the quintessential rejector of failurism, Donald Trump as President.