Make America Great Again?

■ Sharye Marx Cressler / Contributed

Make America great again?
Like it was when the people roamed freely over the land and hunted the beaver, the deer, and the buffalo?
Like it was when the people of this land welcomed the newcomers in kindness and generosity and saved many of their lives in their new and strange surroundings?

Make America great again? For who? The ones whose kindness was betrayed with scarlet fever-infested blankets, or the ones who handed them out?
The ones who broke the treaties or the ones who had their treaties broken?

Make America great again? How? Like it was when it was built and prospered on the backs of those stolen from faraway lands?
Like it was for them as they watched their children, mothers, husbands, and grandparents sold in the name of progress?
I know, great like it was for immigrants from Ireland who roamed looking for work and were told to look elsewhere, and found elsewhere didn’t want them.
Great like it was for the farmers of Oklahoma as the tractors plowed their homes and corn under fields and fields of cotton.
Great like it was when they migrated to California for the orange harvest. Millions of them. Arkansas. More came. Kansas. More came. There weren’t enough oranges for hands.
Them no good, cotton-pickin’ Oakies in their shanty camps watching their little ones starve kinda great?

Make America great again. Yes, like it was in the 50s when the economy was booming and Sears was a swirl of sharply dressed housewives in matching gloves, heels, and purse…and earrings, coming in with their husband’s money and coming out with juicers and apple peelers and washers and dryers and toasters for that amazing sliced white bread.
Yes, that’s it, great like that. Buy a house for $3,000. Live in it for fifty years and then give it to the kids and snowbird and boondock the country in your motorhome.
No worry for supplies, there’s a convenience store every so many miles in town kinda great?
In two hundred years the time from 1940 to 1990 before China owned us and that sliced bread gave us diabetes little window of history kind of great?
Wait, two hundred? Not five hundred? Not since that first boat came looking for India through Japan with the Arabic translator on board who could speak to everyone with his exotic tongue?
What part of the history of America are we referring to?
Whose part of the history of America are we referring to?
If it’s mine, my forty-three years here, it has been great. I have clean water. I have several pairs of shoes. I drive a car. We have more than one and gas to put into it. My husband, my children and I have never gone hungry. We can go to church without being put into prison. We can voice our opinions without being executed.
But I’ve been through the barren reservations on the way between California and Colorado. I’ve looked out at the zooming past communities and looked for the gardens in their yards full of vegetables.
I saw none.
I never once saw a warrior on the red clay hills coming down with meat for his village.
I saw him at the register of the plywood, chipped-paint, sparsely-stocked gas station market.
He wore no buckskin.
I saw no cucumbers. His grandmother dreamed of them.
I saw the skinny dogs beg the travelers with large wet eyes at the pumps.
I’ve never been to Detroit’s apocalyptic waste land.
I’ve not been to Harlem.
I’ve not been to Cuba and have only been down as far as Ensenada past our lower border.
There must be something worse than the abuse of the Coyotes and their overstuffed trucks in places I’ve not been.
Make America great. Make it easier for them to come to us.
But, make America great with jihad brewing lava under our pavement?
America got greater as the Sahara got bigger, China became our owners (someday we might have to pay them back. Or we’ll have to send them some of those blankets we gave our natives here), the landfills filled with stickers reading “Made In China” and plastic bags for that wonderful sliced bread.
America got greater as Haiti became more dependent, like our inner cities. (Like that wasn’t done on purpose. And it wasn’t the Republicans on that one.)
Make America great…again? For who?
Make America great. Let’s do that.
Let’s invite Jose over for dinner.
And Jose, can I come to your house and the wife and I will make carne asada together as the kids play in the yard?
And vet? You bet, but let them in already. Stop making running from the decapitation of their children so hard (did you even know that’s what is happening in the Middle East?)
How about let’s make America great WITHOUT sacrificing people and the environment to do it?

Sharye Marx Cressler

Author’s Note: I realize that this starts off sounding bitter, but that’s not my intent. I’m just trying to show things from a different perspective than maybe some of you have thought of. For a large part of the population, this is real and present. Please bear with me and know I’m not pointing any fingers past this page, just looking for more compassionate dialogue and solutions.I love my country, but see it’s warts and want positive change.

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