Spotlight on South

Zach Reiss, guest columnist

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The notion that anyone can “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) assumes one dangerous idea: that America was “great” in the first place. I can confidently say that this isn’t the case.

The United States has a long record of injustice that disqualifies it from “greatness.” Although founded on the idea that “all men are created equal,” that has never been the case. Slavery wasn’t abolished until 1865. Women didn’t nationally have the right to vote until 1920. For centuries, wars were fought to kick Native Americans off their land. This pattern of persecution persists among many minority groups and continues now, as there is great disparity among the economic success of different societal groups, and injustice steals national headlines.

If “greatness” is determined by widespread prosperity, then it’s clear America has never been great. However, there is one group of Americans that has nearly always experienced prosperity: Caucasian men. Only they could possibly toy with the notion of America losing its exceptionalism over time.

Women and minority groups in America have made strides towards equality, increasing their representation in Congress and coming close to a female president. Many Caucasian men have interpreted this as a seizure of their own rights. This is not true. These other groups are merely beginning to have the rights that all Americans deserve, but only Caucasian men have been consistently afforded.

I believe that MAGA is code for a return to an America dominated by Caucasian men, where the needs and success of other groups are routinely ignored so that Caucasian men can gain more power.

Countless Americans are being misled into supporting an agenda that conflicts with their interests. MAGA promises greatness by returning to the past, but many, including the 36 percent that support the president, according to a study conducted by SSRS, an independent research company, don’t acknowledge that no time has been better for them than now.

As a Caucasian male, I ostensibly have nothing to lose. America has always been “great” to me. However, as I look at my community, I see that I have everything to lose. Living in a diverse community has let me experience different lifestyles, and I am a better person for it. Our community is built on the progress that America has achieved over the past centuries.

When all voices are heard and diversity is cherished, everyone benefits.

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