In a previous column I asked what Trump and his supporters have in mind when they speak of “making America great again.” Are they harking back to the Jim Crow era; to when only men could vote and black voting was suppressed with poll taxes and literacy tests; to before the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; or to when people with pre-existing conditions were unable to get health insurance at all and certainly not at the same price as others?
it means more and more to me every day. Yes, I want to return to the days before Trump was elected — back to a time when:
> We had a president who was not a pathological liar and did not embolden white supremacists and other “deplorables” with thinly veiled dog whistles.
> The United States of America was respected around the world for our values, and foreign governments could depend on us for stable and sensible foreign policies.
> People with pre-existing conditions were guaranteed health insurance at the same rate as people without health challenges.
> Health insurance for women cost the same as for men.
> The president put the country first instead of his own personal interests and did not violate the constitution by profiteering from government business, accepting money (and loans) from foreign powers.
> The Secretary of Labor did not try to gut protections for laborers.
> The Secretary of Energy, like the president himself, knew that an economy based on fossil fuels was itself a dinosaur and that we need to transition to clean and renewable energy.
> The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency was to protect the environment, not eliminate protections.
> The president was not in the pocket of our number one enemy, Russia.
> The Republican Party believed in free trade, not supporting trade wars and tariffs that only hurt American farmers and consumers.
> We expected better than average morals, ethics and integrity from our politicians and punished those who fell short.
> Our president didn’t promote violence against his opponents.
> The president didn’t hide his tax returns and his foreign entanglements.
> The president (and his supporters) saw value in marital fidelity.
> We joined the rest of the world in committing to address the existential threat of climate change.
> Our president supported our allies instead of ridiculing their leaders.
> Scientists were respected by the president and both political parties, not ridiculed and insulted.
> Voter suppression was not the stated policy of the president and his political party.
> The president didn’t fall for and promote conspiracy theories, unable to censor his own public utterances.
> The president (like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan) would admit their errors and apologize instead of doubling down. He practiced humility.
> It was not considered presidential to engage in name calling and insults at every opportunity.
> The president concentrated on running the country instead of being glued to his TVs and engaging in an absurd amount of spontaneous tweeting.
> Loyalty to the country was more important than loyalty to the president.
> Members of the president’s party were willing to speak out when they knew the president was wrong.
> The media were respected instead of attacked for telling the truth and was not called “the enemy of the people.”
> The president upheld the conservative principle of the rule of law.
Voters who don't want to make America great again as described above should ask themselves why. What kind of America do they want?