January 24, 2017

Making America Great Again

President Trump says he wants to make America great again. I suspect When Trump refers to America being great he is referring to the period after World War II up to the beginning of this century.

Who made America great in the first place and what are we now if not great?

To begin with many of our Founding Fathers owned slaves including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. This slavery helped create the wealth of these Founding Fathers and therefore a direct link exists between slavery and the creation of this country called the United States.

For much of the 19th century the United States was a struggling nation with a civil war over slavery. In the early part of the 20th century World War I broke out. Over 350,000 blacks served in segregated units. Many died for our freedom even though they were denied “equal freedom “.

The United States was not considered a world power at the beginning of the 1900’s. It was a nation mostly made up of people with roots in Europe. It was still struggling. The 1918 flu pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide. It killed more people than all the wars of the twentieth century combined, It ravaged families. In my Dad’s family alone more than half of his brothers and sisters were killed by this influenza before he was a teen.

At about the same time World War I broke out resulting in over 17 million deaths worldwide and an additional 20 million wounded. The same generation that experienced the flu pandemic and World War I then dealt with the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent depression that lasted for most of the 1930’s. At the height of the depression over 20% of Americans were unemployed. During much of the depression my Dad was in the Civil Conservation Corp to stay alive and reduce the number of mouths to feed back home. The depressed times lasted through the 1930’s and into the 1940’s until production and employment began to pick up because of World War II, which resulted in over 60 million people being killed worldwide. My Dad fought in World War II as did some of my uncles. During the war my Mom worked at an auto factory to put food in her, my brothers and my mouths.

My generation, the baby boomers, benefited from the fact we were the last country standing after World War II. This was the period when we were the king of the world, the strongest, most powerful country in the world. This was the period when America was great. We are still great but much of the world is catching up.

That was then. This is now. Europe is rebuilt. It is the largest marketplace in the world. By the year 2030 China will have more college graduates in its workforce than America’s entire workforce. Asia, with China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and other countries will be the future most powerful economic region in the world.

Just what is Trump's plan to “Make America Great Again”? Is it World War III? Is it isolationism?

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