Making America great again

Opinion

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In 2016 America's voters failed to heed St. Matthew's warning to beware of false prophets. They elected an opportunist to the presidency who promised to make America great again. Peoples' frustrations and anger stemming from decades of being underserved by previous administrations mandated change. Trump assumed he heard the "voice of the people," and rode the wave of anger to the Oval Office.

After his inauguration, Donald Trump stepped onto the world stage as our country's representative. He demeaned leaders of other nations. His insults alienated many of our allies. Trump morphed into a new "Ugly American." As a result, this country is now viewed as a nation of Ugly Americans. This is a strange way to make America great.

I'm an immigrant and a proud naturalized citizen of the United States. As a patriot, I'm deeply wounded by that depiction of our nation. Our choice of leadership has had a negative impact on our image. For me the stigma of an Ugly American is unbearable. With our national image smeared, I ponder whether the disaster could have been averted.

Trump could and should have been rejected. He revealed his true self through his conduct in the debates. Slander, defamations, and incivility toward his opponents revealed the man's unfitness for our presidency. But the industry that influences opinion and creates images interjected themselves and earned their money. They manipulated people's emotions and logic to embrace Donald's abrasiveness. They stigmatized candidates of the opposition and paved the low road to the summit through the valley of smut and slander.

In 2016 I could not support Donald Trump. I could not accept his incivility. I could not allow him to become my representative or the champion of my cause.

I shudder as I think of prospects of the impending 2020 campaign. To prevent a recurrence of this disaster, I have developed my own process of screening politicians:

I question what my response would be to slanderous attacks. I ask myself if I could present such an individual as a role model to my children. Would I tolerate such behavior in my children? Does a candidate represent me and who I am? What do I become if I accept and endorse someone as my representative?

I intend to seek answers to these questions from candidates of all political parties in the impending 2020 campaign. I'll also question the candidates' credibility, veracity, political, and ideological leanings. The answers will reveal them as who and what they are.

But the scrutiny of our electoral candidates also mandates our own introspective soul-searching as to whether we ourselves contribute to our stigma of ugliness. Trump's base of support is permeated by numerous hate groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the like. 

Trump considers them "fine people."

Hate ideologies are difficult to eradicate, but they must be discredited, outmoded, and made irrelevant and unacceptable. Our nation must purge itself of such pestilence of her soul. 

Only then, can America's former greatness be restored.

Fred Natkevi is a longtime Oak Park resident.

Reader Comments

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Ramona Lopez  

Posted: July 9th, 2019 4:03 PM

Annual spending by federal gov't: 1. 2018 Healthcare $1.1 TRILLION, of which $400 BILLION was for the VA. 2. Around $2.5 BILLION is spent to fight homelessness. Homelessness is down around 15% since 2007. Regarding the "concentration camp" comparison. That conversation was started by AOC and those on the right are simply pointing out the lunacy of that statement. Head to Poland and spend a day at Auschvitz and look at the gas chambers, railroad cars, etc. if you want to see what a real concentration camp looks like. AOC loves the attention she gets from her crazy propaganda. The media loves her just as much as they loved Trump before the election. She's good for ratings and not much more.

Kathleen Gerrans  

Posted: July 9th, 2019 10:39 AM

Ray Sampson, they're not breaking the law to get here. You can only request asylum at a port of entry, which is what they tried to do. As for the homeless, mentally ill, veterans, etc that you mentioned, our current government isn't doing anything to help those people either, they're just giving tax cuts to rich people. They're currently in court trying to kick millions of Americans off their healthcare plans, they clearly don't care about the sick and disenfranchised. Oh, and Hillary might end up in jail? Lol. For what? Nobody in the history of our country has been more thoroughly investigated, and yet they still found nothing to charge her with...unlike everyone associated with our current "President*"

Amy Binns-Calvey  

Posted: July 7th, 2019 9:41 PM

@Ray Simpson, I did not say that I endorse breaking the law. I said that we should treat all people with compassion. That's the America I think is great. Again, I think identifying what constitutes "great" will help us all move forward.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 6th, 2019 9:04 PM

@Amy Binns-Calvey - The United States has always welcomed immigrants and has offered sanctuary where appropriate. There is a second part to that benevolence, one that the progressive left refuses to acknowledge. That is they MUST honor the rules of our society. Breaking the law to get here casts a shadow over our willingness to expend treasure we don't have. There are citizens living on the streets, veterans who die waiting for treatment and you seem to believe that someone who breaks the law to sneak into our country deserves more than citizens who are down on their luck or in desperate need of mental health treatment. We have tens of thousands of people who are following the rules and are waiting to be immigrants into the United States, yet you argue that we are unfeeling because we are more considerate of those who do it right.

Amy Binns-Calvey  

Posted: July 6th, 2019 9:52 AM

I believe it would be helpful if folks identified what they meant by "great," then we could have a clear discussion on the issues folks want to address. What is a "great" America? For me, treating others with respect and compassion, offering a safe haven from oppression, and giving people the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is what makes America great. Surely we can do that in a humane and just way.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: July 6th, 2019 8:21 AM

Wow! Some of the posts on here are really beyond disgusting. Now we should be applauding these detention centers because they might be better than the horrible conditions they had before, or even better because they are better than a concentration camp. Apparently the bar for how we treat people in America now isn't based on our own morality but on how bad things could be for people. Everyone should be fine with the worst possible treatment of our fellow human beings because it's better than what that Hitler guy did. It's always nice to see people's true colors. I can just see Trump making a speech about how great America is because we treat these people better than Hitler would have. It's made even better by the fact that lots of people that share this belief also profess to be religious. I am pretty sure Jesus was a big fan of treating those less fortunate as poorly as possible as long as it's not as bad as they could have been treated. Such a heartwarming message.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: July 4th, 2019 8:57 AM

I will wager that there are quite a few Jews and Eastern Europeans who wouldn't of minded staying in our "concentration camp" rather than the "concentration camp in Europe.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: July 3rd, 2019 7:57 PM

@ Ted H or at least post a sign that says " conceived and built by Barack Hussein Obama " and since when did people travel hundreds of miles knowing they were going to spend time in a concentration camp? The detention centers on the border are probably the first time illegal aliens have seen indoor plumbing. .

Ted Holland from ONALASKA  

Posted: July 3rd, 2019 11:18 AM

If you really want to make Ameria great again close the concentration camps.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: July 2nd, 2019 4:41 PM

Have you considered that foreign countries have been informed that their accepting US dollars and then stabbing us in the back will no longer be tolerated. Also, trade deals that stick it to US farmers and businesses wall be cancelled. We are experiencing the bitter medicine that is required to right our ship of state after decades of incompetence and corruption. I appreciate that you do not respect President Trump, but, I had the same problems with President Obama and we are only now discovering what an evil man he was/is. As disappointed as you are with POTUS do you believe that Hillary Clinton would have met your requirements? She could well wind up behind bars for her disregard of the law. Politics is a bare knuckles sport and our current President knows how the game is played. The Democrats have never experienced a Republican who refuses to knuckle under to their agenda. Hate seems to be in the eyes of the observer. Rep. Schiff, Rep Nadler, Rep Waters demonstrate real deep hatred OAC is hateful and stupid - WOW!

Nick Polido  

Posted: July 2nd, 2019 12:09 PM

Settle down Fred...you still live in the greatest country there is. Our founding Fathers created a government with checks and balances so we can deal with idiots from time to time, As far you seeking answers, as you say questioning a "candidates' credibility, veracity, political, and ideological leanings in the upcoming election you'll find yourself sorely disappointed. Might I suggest you enjoy this holiday with a neighbor or a friend, have a hot dog and a beer and take a little pride in this magnificent country!

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