"Make America Great Again!" has been an unquestionably effective, shrewd, and admittedly genius campaign strategy for Donald Trump. Sequencing those four words in that order is a brilliantly succinct way of communicating two separate and equally powerful messages:
1. America was once great, is no longer great, but can be great again
2. America was once great, is no longer great, but can be great again if you elect me
Again, genius! It tugs at an affinity for nostalgia — a feeling both emotionally resonate and completely unreliable (nothing lies as much as nostalgia does) — while also placing an implicit blame for America's current lack of greatness on progress. And by "progress" I mean "incremental progresses made by minorities, women, gays and anyone who's not a straight White Christian male." Basically, "America is no longer great because you Blacks and bitches ruined everything."
It also, smartly, establishes its own narrative for America's present. It doesn't matter that, by most objective measures, America is still the most powerful country in the world. America used to be the best, but now it's wack. Basically, America is New York City basketball.
Of course, not everyone who believes Trump's message is aware of its racial implications. For some — specifically working class Whites — it is truly about a return to the days of "Leave it to Beaver," where everyone had a job, everyone had a status, and everyone had a place. A purpose. But, as Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley articulates, that great society was made possible because of discrimination, not in spite of it. Whites had so much free stuff because we had none of it, so there was more to go around.
Of course, this is not news to many Black Americans. We're very aware of how discrimination shifted the scales, drastically and permanently. (If fact, the scales weren't just shifted. They've never been unshifted. That's the default settling. The only point of their existence is to be unshifted.) We know how racism has affected everything from accumulation of wealth to degree of physical health. We've learned how America's status as the richest country in the history of the world is largely due to the centuries of free labor it received. Again, these are not new or foreign concepts to us.
But, again, it is to many of them. Which means we're at a bit of an impasse. They want America to be great again, to go back to how things were 60 years ago, and we're like "Nah. We're good."
Alas, I have a solution. One that ensures that people will be able to buy homes and clear debt and hold jobs and accumulate wealth the same way so many White Americans were able to in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, but also ensures that Blacks and other minorities won't be America's mules.
Legalize White Slavery.
This is the cure-all, the remedy, the antidote. This is the vaccine that'll make America great again; the Robitussin that'll stop our sniffles. Imagine how amazing our median wealth would be with 200 million slaves. Think of all the bridges built, roads repaired, and fields hoed if this happened. Dream of all the things we'd be able to do as a country with the biggest slave population in the history of mankind.
And, the beauty of it all is that those truly committed to making America great again — those who truly believe that things were so much better back in the day — would volunteer to do this. Well, maybe not would. But they should. Sure, maybe this "better" America wouldn't actually benefit them, but it would return things to how they were, which is the goal. "Leave it to Beaver" is the point, right? Should it matter if Eddie Haskell is Elijah? Or Eduardo?
Seriously — and this is real — if Trump put his money where his mouth is and volunteered his entire family for indentured servitude for a century or two, he'd get my vote. He wouldn't be President, of course, because slaves can't be President. But he'd be my President in spirit.
Let's make this happen, America. Let's all go and be as great as we never actually were even though we're actually the greatest we've ever been right now!