Is America great again?

Has America become great again? I think yes! In my eyes, America was always great not due to its geographic size, its strong economy or its military power, but because it was a democratic society before the French Revolution. The United States was exemplary with its short but impressive modern history.

These days, the belief that all people have equal rights is commonplace – even though these rights are often violated. But in 1776, the year of America’s founding, the words “equal rights” were revolutionary and opened a new path. They inspired many other nations to try and create a more righteous society.

However, this image of a “great and democratic America” was never flawless, as is the case with all symbols. American history is marked with the killing of indigenous people, the slavery of and ongoing racism against Black people, a terrible civil war, great social inequalities and imperialist interventions across the globe.

But symbols are not meant to describe a situation but to represent ideals, and the United States has served the world in this direction for decades.

Furthermore, the worst side of the American society has been challenged and heeled through its own dynamics. In the last few decades, the country has finally seen a person who in his youth opposed an unnecessary intervention in a foreign country and another representing its discriminated citizens elected as presidents.

Freedom of belief was not the end result of a conscious ideology; on the contrary, the practical needs of people of various beliefs developed a society where freedom was at its base. The term “freedom” often became a cliché and even associated with witch hunt. But still America preserved its positive image as positive symbols tend to be preserved by the needy worldwide.

Donald Trump tore down much of this image: not so much through meaningful action, but through his verbal attacks against the so-called “establishment” and his scornful attitude against basic institutions. His flirting with world leaders who stood against the values of democracy became a disillusion for many. Some call this course “populism”.

In the end, Trump’s behaviours signalled a distancing from positive American values; at least that was the impression that many had abroad, looking at the country from a distance. They felt insecure when the U.S. looked more selfish and isolated than ever.

Trump claimed that he would make America great again. He may cash in on this promise now by abiding with the Nov. 3 election results.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.