President Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” has sent the nation into a frenzy with both sides of the political spectrum protecting their values at all cost. The dangers of political polarization and the battle between nativist and inclusionary ideologies, have shown all Americans what division can do to a nation.
If you scrolled through any social media feeds in the last week, you have likely seen the viral video of a standoff between a Native American elder and a Covington Catholic High School student. The Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, was at the Lincoln Memorial for the Indigenous Peoples March, while the catholic student, Nick Sandman, was attending the March for Life. In this viral video, you can see Sandman and his fellow classmates standing in front Phillips sporting “Make America Great Again” hats and presumably blocking Phillips from ascending the memorial steps.
Of course, like most issues in the United States, members of both groups began to point the finger at one another, unwilling to accept any blame in what transpired. Phillips argued that although he was seen walking towards Sandman and friends, he was only demonstrating pride for his culture. Sandman argued that he and his classmates were protecting themselves against Hebrew Israelites who can be heard yelling vulgar remarks toward the students in the video. The contents of the video make it difficult to hold any degree of objectivity to these claims, however, one thing is clear: no group was promoting unity.
Clearly the students were supporters of Trump and his administration and it wasn’t too long before POTUS had his own remarks for the incident. As POTUS one should always encourage unity and shoot down any prejudice that may arise, however, Trump, as we all know is a very unconventional President. On Monday, Trump went to Twitter to protect the students arguing, “Looking like Nick Sandman & Covington Catholic students were treated unfairly with early judgements proving out to be false – smeared by media.” He went a step further by extending an invitation for a White House visit to the students.
Trump’s promotion of disunity should be no surprise when you consider what his slogan promotes. “Make America Great Again”…..when was America ever truly great? Suggesting that we must go back in time to make this country great is a direct dismal of all unification and advancements we’ve made. It suggests that we must go back to a time when gay marriage was illegal, segregation was idealized and nationalism and white power was the foundation of the United States. “Making America Great Again” is an encouragement of the behavior we saw from all groups involved in the video. From the Hebrew Israelites we see hate spewed against white culture, from the Covington High School students we see a dismal of indigenous people and from the Native American elder we see a certain level of the disgust for the MAGA supporters. Collectively, we see disunity.
That’s POTUS America. Unity and acceptance can not live in any space that forces us to go back in history. Historically, America was highly prejudice. America was highly intolerant. America was not great. With Trump this is the reality that we are faced with, let what happened in this video be a testament to why we can not let “Make America Great Again” be the slogan we live by.