Make America Great Again.
That is the refrain of one half of the American Electorate. And I get it: I understand the anger that so many have at the system.
At every level and across all dividing lines, the Government has failed We the People…or it has at least fallen short of its purpose as an American Government.
It has failed to establish justice. And so we see countless citizens crying out for their rights and to have the system treat them fairly. The system has allowed the poor and the other to be marginalized and abused. The system has not protected the people from having their land and property taken away. It has not reformed itself to undo years of redlining and gerrymandering that leave people without a way to appeal for justice. It has allowed the frustrations of the people to percolate to a slow boil, from dreams deferred and hopes dashed.
Truly, the Government has failed to ensure domestic tranquility. Look at the hatred and anger of today’s social climate. People are boiling about the treatment of Americans by agents of their own Government. People feel like they are under attack and that they need to defend themselves. Surely, there is no peace or harmony on the home front.
She has failed to provide for the common defense. And as a result, so many are tempted to give into fear…afraid of those who want to kill us and destroy our way of life.
America has failed to promote the general welfare. From schools, to roads, to healthcare…our infrastructure has been neglected. Our Country has allowed her citizens to go hungry and thirsty. She is comfortable even though many are without shelter and adequate clothing. She allows her people to be sick, and condemns them to prison – locking them up and throwing away the key. (cf. Matt 25:31-46)
Our country has failed to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. So the middle-class has been gutted. Jobs have been shipped over seas. The majority of our wealth is in the hands of one-percent of our people.
The establishment has abandoned these ideals. Society has abandoned these ideals. Yet, these are the components…things that make up American Greatness, by our Constitution’s standards. And upholding these components is what forms a More Perfect Union.
So…when was America great?
When has our Country ever upheld all of these components faithfully?
From the Founding of this Country, and the establishment of the Noble Ideal of America, America has failed to uphold these components in all aspects of social life. So, how could America quite be Great – by her own definition?
By the Constitution’s standard, America may be almost great. But not quite great yet. For by American standards, greatness consists of the constant upward call of pursuing a More Perfect Union. To be an American, in the purest sense, is to be committed to forming that More Perfect Union.
In the Gospel sense, to make America Great means to pursue the Kingdom of God.
Not the “Christian Kingdom,” for Christians do not have a kingdom. Not the “Muslim Kingdom,” for they don’t have a kingdom either. And not the “Jewish Kingdom,” for they don’t have a monarch. To make America great is to become a people in pursuit of the One God: Who Is above all and with all and in you all. Only He has that land which could ever be perfect. So, we who pledge allegiance to this Country must ever be in pursuit of a deeper commitment to that More Perfect Union.
Greatness, by American standards, could never be achieved by appeals to or playing nice with ignoble and bad minded ideals: racism, xenophobia, isolationism and etc.
From Slavery through Jim Crow, until the New Jim Crow present, America has failed to champion the Noble Ideal. She has failed to establish justice by allowing Blacks to be slaughtered with impunity, with very few Whites ever facing trial. She has failed to insure domestic tranquility, as some of her citizens can find no peace of mind from the turmoil of violence and crime and drugs. America has failed to provide for the common defense as Black communities continue to be ravaged by all sorts of policy tricks that marginalize them. She has failed to promote the general welfare as evidenced by the disparities in quality of life that are sharply divided on racial lines. She has failed to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, when you consider the immense wealth gap between White and Black.
Yet We Can Make America Great Again
In those hopeful moments when the right thing was done, for just those moments, America was great. She has experienced momentary greatness, in those times when she rises to the occasion and lives up to her creed. She was great with she moved to end Slavery, despite the cost of White sons and daughters. America was great when she gave women the right to vote. She was great when she finally was compelled to do something about Jim Crow segregation. America was great when she allowed herself to elect a Black man as her President.
But that past greatness was only momentary…it wasn’t lasting. America pulls together in times of tragedy and loss. Then she returns to normal. Like a family who lost a loved one, we pull together in grief vowing to not lose touch again…only to fade apart a few months later.
When we come to love the formation of a More Perfect Union and hold that as our unifying ideal, regardless of faith, color or creed, then we can make America great. When the establishment is again focused on the upward call of social perfection, then America can be great again. And hopefully the “again” of American greatness will not just be a momentary one. Hopefully it will be lasting greatness that is only achieved through love and humility.
To make America great will take self-examination
It will require us – as a Society – to see where we have fallen short of those Founding Ideals: repenting for falling short, forgiving those who have fallen short, and reconciling the breach.
America will be great again when we commit to the Noble Ideal of America. We must commit to forming a More Perfect Union…a Union where none are judged by their social location: skin color, community of birth, sexuality, nationality, gender, faith, etc. Rather all are judged by their commitment to this Noble Ideal:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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