There are few symbols in the upcoming presidential election as easily-recognizable as Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hat. First Trump wore it, then Tom Brady wore it, and now, strangely enough, me. When I first saw it, all lurid and assuming, I knew I had to have it. But I did not want to contribute any money to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, who I find morally, politically and personally repugnant. Thus, I was stuck in a bit of a quandary.
Fortunately, in this not-yet-great-again America, countless knockoffs exist on the Internet. I promptly ordered one and eagerly awaited its delivery. When it arrived, I immediately donned the hat and began wandering around campus in an attempt to evoke a reaction one way or another.
The entire experience, however, led me to contemplate a few questions. What, exactly, constitutes a great country? When was America last great by this standard? And, obviously, how do we make it great again? I’m looking for specifics, which naturally is why I was drawn to the hat. Sadly, Donald Trump has been lacking on those ever-so-important details. Instead, he has merely offered strange panaceas that operate completely independently of the realm of reality.
Trump’s entire platform at this point consists of a loosely-organized plan to build a giant wall along the Mexican border. Would that make America great again? East Germany had a wall, but I think few people would say the wall made that country great.
So did any of the fellow Longhorns with whom I communicated think walls make America great? Not really.
This led me to thinking, admittedly in a somewhat self-aggrandizing manner, that what can make America great again is not walls or hats or any of those superficial platitudes. Rather, the ability to talk, debate and otherwise bicker about these topics are what has always made — and continues to make — America great.
Trump obviously struck a chord with millions of Americans. I must assume that is why he has been dominating the polls for the Republican presidential nomination since July. I fear it has to do with xenophobia and other bouts of blatant racism, but I must think there can be an upside of some type. Perhaps it is that Americans of all stripes simply wish to see this country reach its full potential.
Liberal or conservative, I think most every American could aspire toward that goal. Let’s make America great again. Let’s just do it — as most of the left and right would agree — without Trump.
Horwitz is government senior from Houston. Follow Horwitz on Twitter @NmHorwitz.