Unsere Kolumnistin fragt sich, wie man sich später wohl an Donald Trumps beliebten Wahlkampfslogan erinnern wird.
Ginger Kuenzel on a great nation
Make America Great Again.” It’s a slogan that began to appear on T-shirts and hats when Donald Trump was running for president. Apparently, he and his supporters did not think that America was great at that point in our history. It’s a debatable topic.
I was born in the 1950s and grew up in a country that provided me with every opportunity imaginable. My African-american contemporaries, however, did not have the same opportunities. I can remember the days when schools were segregated, and blacks were not allowed to sit at the same lunch counter as whites. There were still laws on the books that made it illegal for a white person to marry a non-white. And there were even lynchings in the South. All this happened during my lifetime. Not to mention our long history of treating Native Americans terribly. Yes, there is surely a lot about America that is great, but there has also been a lot that was not so great.
The 1960s were another dark chapter in our history — and not just for blacks. The Vietnam War was raging; there were race riots in many US cities; and President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. In the spring of 1970, it all came to a head when members of the National Guard shot and killed four students on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio as they were protesting against the war. Our government was killing young US citizens for exercising their right of free speech. America, “the great”?
Although I am proud to be an American, I am also not so naive as to believe we have no faults. Our country is extremely divided today. But that’s nothing new. In the 19th century, the American Civil War pitted friends and family members against each other. And 100 years later, in the 1960s, the battle lines were drawn again. Today, we have aggressive white supremacists, bullies of all ages, and people who want to close our borders to immigrants. They are afraid of people who look different from themselves. They support the president’s call for a wall to keep the “undesirable elements” out. Other countries built walls in the recent past — but they were to keep people in, not out. Is this perhaps the underlying reason for Trump’s wall as well? Will we become a country that citizens want to leave instead of one that people are anxious to move into?
I moved from the US to Germany in the early 1970s because I didn’t agree with the direction in which our country was moving. Thankfully, I had the freedom to do so. But I kept my citizenship and moved back to the US 20 years later. Today, I disagree more strongly than ever with the direction our country is headed. But I’m not leaving this time. I’m staying and working to change things for the better. It’s the one thing that Trump and I happen to agree on: Making America great again. It’s just that his definition of “great” differs so much from mine.
is a freelance writer who lived in Munich for 20 years. She now calls a small town in upstate New York home.