The Lie of American Greatness

Growing up in the United States we were told a lie. That lie was that America was Great. That it was a beacon of freedom and justice. That we were somehow the reigning superheroes of the world.

As our society has matured, and more specifically, as we have gained greater access to information, people have started to see through the sham. People have started waking up, as if from a beautiful dream, to a nightmare reality they can hardly believe is true.

America Was Never Great

This is where “Make America Great Again” comes from. It is speaking to a deeply unsettling realization that we, as a people, are only halfway into waking up to. For those that recognize America was never great, MAGA sounds crazy. Some even feel like it is codedly racist, referring to a time when America was great only for white people. But the majority of people who want to “Make America Great Again” aren’t saying that. They aren’t referring to a pre-liberated-women-and-minorities society. They are referring to the story we were fed that, as it turns out, was never real.

Think about how common this trope is in movies. It’s been coming for a while now…

Believers of MAGA by and large aren’t evil racist people, they are going through an intense feeling of dissonance. They are waking up to the lie and saying “Hey, where did my great country go?! We were the almighty center of the universe! What happened?!”

Dude, where’s my country?

You Believed the Lie Once Too

Pointing out the ignorance in someone who is just learning something that you already know is never a good look. It only serves our own egos at the expense of our potential as a nation. Let’s not forget, you believed the lie once too. We all did. And now, we distance ourselves from those that still believe in the GI JOE fairy tale as a way to distance ourselves from our own shame for believing that same fairy tale. Liberals right now speaking to conservatives about MAGA are acting out the intellectual equivalent of the big brother making fun of little sister for believing in Santa.

We need to stop flaunting back and forth the ways in which we are right over each other. There are going to be a lot of difficult truths to swallow as we all wake up to the reality of what is going on in this country. We need to deal with each other with compassion and love and recognize it isn’t going to feel nice for anyone, really.

Here’s the Good News

Our country is not perfect and has terribly failed in opportunities of greatness at times, but it has achieved a lot of good before too and our country is full of great people. For good or for ill, The American story is one of defiance, determination and perseverance. Even if you don’t believe that this story is true, you can’t deny that we have all been propagandized with it. By telling the story over and over again, one good thing that can come of all this, is that we may have just brainwashed ourselves into believing that this is who we are. The propaganda meant to pacify and control us, in a true display of fates irony, may be our greatest hope for a the future.

If America is to be great, it won’t be any politician or billionaire that makes it so. It will be when Americans stop believing in their heroes and decide to stand up and be them. When Americans stop proselytizing about their values and embody them. But most importantly, the future of this country is going to be defined by our ability to value our commonalities which make us Americans more than the ways in which we are different — the ways in which we get to be right.

If we make it through this, it’s only going to be done together. It’s time we each focus on what we can do to better understand each other and come together.

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