“Make America Great Again” has become both a beacon and a repulsion, a symbol of the divide across our country.
It’s a reminder of how nasty, tiring and controversial a political contest can be – and it seems no matter your party or beliefs, there’s no denial that this year’s election has been worse than most.
While that might be par for the course, “Make America Great Again” has moved beyond that. Up front, I want to emphasize this isn’t a comment on any particular candidate or party. It’s about something much bigger, something that transcends not just politics, but who we are and what we are as individuals, as Americans and as a community.
The more I hear “Make America Great Again” the more it bothers me in a way that has nothing to do with the presidential election or party politics. This slogan is a reflection not just on our political system, our economy, our international role – it’s an indictment on all of us.
And, it’s insulting.
Implying America is not great now is a disservice to us as a whole. Obviously, I can’t speak to everywhere, but I do know Mustang and Canadian County, I know our people. And, I don’t believe that most places across the USA are somehow inherently worse, that they are “terrible,” “horrible” or “embarrassing” as has been said.
Saying America is not great is to say Mustang is not great. I disagree. That statement doesn’t reflect the many people, organizations and business that honor who we are and what we believe in. “Make America Great” is an injustice to people like Mustang School Board member Mike Kessler, City Councilman Brian Grider and all of those who serve with them, residents who invest their time and energy to make our community better – for no pay and rarely any reward beyond knowing they are doing the right thing.
It’s a disservice to City Clerk Lisa Martin, children’s librarian Lizzy Moser, parks and recreation employee Austin Kern, all part of a team that has raised Mustang up and has made it something other communities has emulated.
It’s an insult to the members of our Masons Lodge, American Legion, Kiwanis, Mustang Rotary and more, all groups that work to help others every day, individuals who shine a light on the best of our community.
It overlooks the administrators, teachers, staff of Mustang Public Schools, a group that has worked to help our children live better and stronger lives, who look to a bright future for their students – and help them achieve it.
It discounts the lives of those students, their parents, their grandparents, their friends, their mentors. It belittles their achievements and their effort, their work and their dedication.
That doesn’t mean America is perfect. We have issues – intolerance, anger, crime, violence, misunderstandings. And, yes, things like racism and hatred. But, giving into those things doesn’t fix it, it only makes it worse. It doesn’t make America “great;” it makes America divided.
Mustang may not be the most racially diverse place in the United States, but in my years of covering Mustang and the rest of Canadian County, I have seen how we care for each other, how we work with each other and how we support each other. We are not a dark or dismal place; we are a place of light and love – a home to people who are there for each other.
We can do better, it’s true. “Make America Better” is always something we can strive for, something we should aspire to. But, we need to look at our many blessings in order to move forward in a positive way, in a way that truly honors all of us and what we are trying to do.
That’s what we do in Mustang. And that’s why Mustang is already great.