Make America great

USAHillary Clinton, I hate to break it to you, but we do have to make America great (again).

Now, before Donald Trump makes me his new Brown Muslim friend and tries to seat me behind him at a rally within camera-frame, let me reiterate that I find him despicable and think his plans would make America worse.

But he’s marginally right in the idea that we do need to work America great, although I’m still questioning the “again” bit. I believe that America has a lot of potential to be great, but I think as a country we make a lot of poor decisions and that in order to be a great country, we need to make a whole lot fewer poor decisions. Like a whole lot fewer.

Number one on that list, of course, would be not electing Donald Trump. Or, actually, any of the other GOP presidential candidates who are, in essence, espousing the same thing as him in a slightly less abrasive manner.

In fact Donald Trump represents, in many ways, everything that is wrong with America. As many have pointed out, Trump is racist, sexist, xenophobic, ableist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and on and on. Trump’s America has no room for anyone, really, other than old, White, Christian, cis, straight, wealthy men. And to far too great an extent, the nation already looks like that.

Think institutionalized racism, discriminatory housing policies, racial profiling, police brutality.Think being banned from being married, fired from your job for who you love, killed for the way you identify. Think restrictive immigrant policies, mass deportations, labor trafficking, less than minimum wage jobs. Think being shamed and mocked for a disability, being physically denied access to buildings, being told to “just get over” mental illness. Think being banned from the country for the religion you practice, being spied on, suspected as terrorists on every street corner, stopped at every airport, killed for your (perceived) faith. Think slashing welfare that allows you to eat, homelessness, mass unemployment, being called a social loafer, crippling student debt. Think rape culture, catcalling, gender pay gap, victim-blaming, luxury taxes on tampons, rape test backlogs.

These are institutional injustices built into the fundamental systems of the United States because of the history of our country. They’re why I hesitate to say “great again” and why I absolutely can’t say that America is already perfectly great.

There are plenty of ways to make America great, but adding to that list is not any of them. We have to get rid of the flaws in the system that leave people out, that hurt them, that oppress them. Not exacerbate those flaws.

The first step to which means that we must recognize they exist. So, sorry Hillary Clinton, I can’t believe you when you say “America is already great.” You’re almost as wrong as Donald Trump.