Something to Think About: How Great is America?
March 23, 2016
Ever since World War II, Americans have held the idea that our country serves as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. We are the symbol for democracy, freedom of expression, equality.
And that is true to a certain extent. I am proud to live in a democratic society where political satire is legal and people are free to say what they want.
But there are so many ways in which we, as a country, tend to ignore those vital aspects of our nation’s identity. This is now more evident to me than it has ever been in my lifetime (which is, admittedly, relatively short) due to the popularity of Donald Trump.
In my opinion, Donald Trump represents all of the parts of American culture and society that I wish weren’t true. Prejudice, xenophobia, fear, a need to beat everyone else. Donald Trump says that he wants to make America great again. He wants us to start winning again. This might sound promising at first, but what Trump is really appealing to is an out-of-touch nostalgia for when we were on top of the world.
My question in response to that is this: what is the point of winning if we don’t stand for anything anymore?
What is the point of becoming “great” again if every other country looks at us like the laughingstock of the world?
I am confident that if Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, we will lose the respect of our most important allies. Just take a look at the UK. The British Parliament has been talking about banning Trump from the country for months.
I recently had the chance to have dinner with some friends who immigrated to the US from New Zealand several years ago. Over the course of the night, the conversation eventually turned to the presidential election. Their thoughts? It looks like a “reality show.”
Do we really want our political process put in the same category as the Real Housewives?
The answer is very clearly, no. But that’s the image that we’re giving the rest of the world. And when we aren’t acting like children on the debate stage, we’re advocating mass deportation, misogyny and bigotry, to the sound of thundering applause.
If we truly want to represent the ideas of equality, opportunity and freedom, we need to take a good look at ourselves. Because the people are the ones who elect the leaders of this country. We have all the power to vote the right person into office this November. Now it’s just a matter of making that choice.
Isabel Giovannetti is a senior at Robinson High School. She loves politics and is part of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council.