Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again, running around the country threatening to steal oil, deport millions of people, killing family members of terrorists and terror suspects, destroying China in trade wars and snuggling up to Vladimir Putin. I know he doesn’t necessarily describe it like I did, but I’m frustrated with my fellow Americans, fellow Christians and fellow conservatives. I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t asked the question that I asked myself today, but I completely understand why the following question hasn’t been asked to Donald Trump and after asking you this question, I’d like to challenge you to ask it to as many people as possible. The question is, “WHAT MADE AMERICA GREAT?”
To cut through the rhetoric, and create the proper emotion necessary to bring about a new decision, new information coupled with an appeal to their higher nature may be the opportunity needed to wake people up at this late date of the primary season. By asking someone what made America great in the first place, you make people stop and think about something other than the hyper-partisan, hyper-rhetoric of the candidates remaining and force a focus toward principles, truth and history that seems to be ill-remembered during this current election cycle.
I believe that a lack of focus on our historical roots, our founding principles and the values that truly did make America great is directly related to what has caused a less-than-great America. I believe that without honestly answering this question, no campaign slogan or reality show celebrity will bring us back to a place that propelled America to the forefront of global greatness seemingly overnight.
Take a look at what Alexis de Tocqueville said when he visited America some 60 years after the founding of America in his famous work, Democracy in America:
Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.
Religion in America...must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion -- for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society. In the United States, the sovereign authority is religious...there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth. In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people...Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent...
I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors...; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom. The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other. Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts -- the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.
I’m not sure that Donald Trump understands our founding, values our founding or believes in our founding. Trump has lived a life of lasciviousness, philandering, opulence and extravagance. The humility required to lead 360 million people and a nation built on biblical principles is completely absent from the personality and character of Donald Trump. Americans, the GOP and conservatives from sea to shining sea have a once in a generation opportunity to vote for someone who uniquely understands how to make America great again because what made America great is foundational to him as well. Donald Trump will not make America great again because he cannot make America great again. If America is to become great again, America must become good again. America can only become good again if it finds it way back to the notions of Christianity and liberty.