The President’s infamous campaign slogan is to, “Make America Great Again”. This promise is being fulfilled a lot sooner than perhaps himself and Americans would have expected.
Let me explain.
It has been decades since we have seen deeply rooted prejudices rear their heads from beneath this great country’s soil for all to so obviously and collectively see and feel. Like a dormant disease displaying symptoms mild enough to be brushed off as harmless, many Americans thought just that; that there was nothing really wrong with our great nation; that we were relatively healthy, not sick, rich, not poor, educated, not ignorant. America is built on dreams and so many were living in one, until today.
Election day results did not only surprise many Americans but for many different reasons saw the simultaneous more obvious appearance of verbal displays of inherent sexism, racism and intolerances of all kinds, all while a hurting and neglected middle class were simultaneously voicing their frustrations.
For years we have been cohabiting with our prejudices, which came in the form of unequal opportunity and treatment of women, homophobic narratives, racial and religious discrimination. A good deal of the population have just accepted these intolerances as neighbors, passively and submissively. These metastasizing prejudices had been previously swept under a red, white and blue woven-rug but are now rapidly being revealed across our present dis-United States of America, like never before.
Bringing these issues up to the surface, detoxifying our social systems from prejudices in the form of hateful rhetoric and judgements, can be painful, as detoxifying is known to be. We are realizing more and more as a collective nation that we aren’t feeling and doing as well as we thought. Too many are poor and unsatisfied, treated unequally, feeling betrayed and frustrated. And this collective realization is what is awakening us from this dream-like state and causing populations to unite as a whole to reflect on the moral principles we have lacked. Groups are uniting, taking to the streets to peacefully stand for moral causes, which perhaps we should have placed more emphasis and value on when we were too busy denying what we truly were as a nation; unwell.
It is the hatred that has been brought to the surface that has awoken a population to the fact that not only has it existed all along but that there can be no rightful place in this nation for it. This is the same awakening that charged millions of men and women across the country and the world to march for the rights and equality of women like never before seen in history. It led thousands to surge the airports to welcome foreigners they did not know into the country with an American spirit of unity in diversity, while high-profile lawyers volunteered their weekend crouched on airport floors compassionately fighting to protect detained and deported families. It is because of this awakening and mass movement towards unity that America is indeed becoming “Great Again.” It is because the masses are choosing compassion over apathy, unity over estrangement, selflessness over self-interest, that we are becoming great.
This nation is built on the pursuit of dreams, material ones and moral ones. Dreams of freedom, equality and human rights are carved into this great Constitution, but they are only now just starting to be carved into our lives. Our American values are only now just finding meaning through action.
America is not yet truly great. It has the potential to be great, perhaps the greatest, but not until ignorance and prejudices are purged from its systems, not until integrity and uprightness distinguish the acts of its citizens, not until we unite as a true “United” States and “…be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.” Until more than just a minority stand with the elevated realization that we are all one people, one human race; the “American dream” will forever be just that; a dream that extends beyond our reach and not the reality we claim to work so hard to make manifest.
This piece was initially published on Huffington Post.