So your candidate for president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, was caught on tape saying some pretty lewd things. It’s easier to try to dismiss this as locker room talk and, “let’s all just focus on the real issues.” But it’s not just locker room talk. A lot of men would admit that they have engaged in some of the conversation that Trump had, but not all of it. You can probably guess what parts are beyond the pale, as in the part where he describes his star power to take advantage of women; the part where he all but tells you that you can grope a woman as a celebrity. That isn’t normal. This is serious. Somewhere, deep down, you probably know that. Let’s imagine that the shoe was on the other foot for a minute. Would you give Obama a pass and say, “Let’s just focus on the issues?” Be honest, you know you wouldn’t and no one would blame you.
It’s hard to watch someone you had such high hopes for descend into chaos. And it is understandable why you had high hopes, you had a lot of reasons.
Some Americans view you as bigots, ignorant, and unworthy of consideration. A lot of them viewed you like that even before Trump came around. That’s why you got so excited when he did come around. Their view is wrong.
Your concerns are important, and relate to matters that affect us all. The Washington elite, including many Republicans, are woefully corrupt; sold out to whomever will fund their reelection campaigns. Donald Trump, along with Bernie Sanders (as much as he would hate that comparison), has highlighted some very important problems in America. Trump has correctly identified some issues, mistakenly identified others, and presented absolutely wrong solutions to almost all of them. Still, you are tired of hearing that America is the greatest country on earth from politicians who hope to satiate your anger over real issues with cheap patriotism. Your anger is real and valid, but you need real leaders and real solutions to make America great again. As hard as it might be to accept, Donald Trump is not a real leader and he will not make America great again. Neither will his solutions.
So ask yourself this? What is that you are after? Forget the “Wall”, extreme vetting or anything else you have heard. What do you really want? You want America to be great. How did America become great? It became great through the Constitution, the greatest founding document ever written. America was great because it was free. And if it is to find that greatness again, its path lies through freedom, not through anything else.
You want America to be safe again. You correctly realize that the foreign policy of President Obama and establishment Republicans has made America less safe and only increased the size of government. The constant games of Risk that elites play with your tax dollars and the lives of your children on the battlefield have only empowered terrorists, whether that is in Iraq, Libya or in Syria.
You wonder where your tax dollars go domestically. Politicians routinely blabber about spending on infrastructure and education. Yet, you know the infrastructure is poor. Maybe you have visited a country like Germany (many of you who have served have) or hear about what it’s like in other places. They have infrastructure that works. Why can’t the greatest country on earth be a leader in great projects like it used to be? You also know that a good education is out of reach. Your high school education is not the high school education of a century ago. It is much poorer and you are no longer prepared to compete and earn a living that rewards you with the dignity of being able to provide for your family. The elites talk a big game about public education, but when was the last time a DC politician sent his kid to public school? Right. They tell you that you have to go to college, but that’s laughable and we all know it. Who can shell out the ridiculous amount of money that it takes to go to college today?
Lack of education leads to inequality. It leads to you falling further and further behind, while the part of the country that can afford the fancy education gets the high paying jobs. Add to that an incredibly complex tax code and the increasingly crushing weight of business regulation. Even if you have a good idea, one that could lift you and your family to a better place, you’d likely be held back by red tape. But the America of today cares less and less about your good idea and more and more about whether or not you can pay to comply with the regulation. That’s wrong. That’s not the land of opportunity.
Inequality leads to lack of respect. You are disrespected for not having an education that you can’t afford, laughed at for having skills that now seem quaint and outdated. Of course, you and many Americans are the victims of a corporate tax code that is among the most burdensome in the world. How are highly skilled and high paying manufacturing jobs supposed to stay in America if we can’t compete with the rest of the world? Sure, some have come back, but not enough. Worse, you are disrespected for being you, for wanting to be self – reliant and valuing the rugged individualism that made this country great in the first place.
It must be noted, if your only goal in supporting Donald Trump or making America great again is to watch a Mexican or a Muslim cry, then you will not win and there is no room for you. Even worse, corruption will continue to win at the expense of all you hold dear in America. But most of you aren’t like that. The elites who are afraid that their gravy train will be derailed take advantage of the nasty voices of a few among you to ensure that very real issues get overshadowed by shouting.
If our goal is to be free, to be safe, to be treated equally and with respect, and to have a country that works again, then we can win. We can make America great again. In order to do that though, we must remember who we are and where we came from. If we do that, we can see that our problems are the policies at the top, policies that degrade the liberty that made us great. And remember, there are others throughout this country, who might look different, practice a different religion and live in different places, but they feel the same challenges and they have the same dreams, dreams that seem ever more distant because of the corrupt Washington machine. If we truly want to make America great again, we cannot take on the establishment and hope to win if we are divided. We must be united. We must have solutions that address real issues, not just boogeymen issues and solutions that are paraded out in front of us to keep us afraid, divided and weak, just like the DC establishment wants. What happened in the 2016 election season is not the end. It is just the beginning. Trump will likely meet his end and that is for the best, but if we focus on real issues, real solutions and only accept real leaders who can lead the way forward, then we can win and make America free again. Through freedom, we will be great again.