What Makes America Great?

in Philosophy/Politics by
   

Now that the slogan “Make America Great Again” has come and gone, it’s time to seriously explore what makes the American legacy great. The only way to make America great again is to understand what made it great in the first place, and this may be where the President is falling short in a number of areas.

Putting America first goes beyond immigration policy and making it great again goes beyond just combating snowflakes. The American government was built on a foundation of limited government. In fact, the Articles of Confederation created a federal government so weak it could barely function. This was out of fear of a big government getting out of control.

For all his rhetoric about making America great again, it seems as though President Trump still doesn’t understand how to make it happen. To be fair to him, most Presidents haven’t.

The Presidency has become a circus on parade. The media enjoys making money off the entire show. Political opponents decry the coming apocalypse and political allies celebrate the second coming of Christ. All along here, the Presidency is viewed as the beginning and the end of American politics.

This isn’t how things were designed.

James Madison felt the Tenth Amendment was superfluous because it was generally understood that the federal government would be limited under the Constitution. Opponents of the new government feared that many instruments within the document could be misconstrued to allow for runaway powers.

The opponents in the long run were right and despite an amendment clearly stating that all the federal government had was strictly enumerated, government quickly overstepped its boundaries and never looked back.

The Bill of Rights was designed to save us from a government that grew like an octopus stretching into every part of our lives. It failed. The reason it failed isn’t because the document is flawed, but because we have failed to uphold it. The Constitution is a tool, not a roadblock. It will be ignored if we allow that to happen.

Libertarians and conservatives alike have gotten this issue wrong. Whether it was celebrating a Paul running for President or celebrating Donald Trump now in the office, there is only so much a constitutional or pro-America President can accomplish. Electing a leader who purports to be limited government to the White House is only one piece in a very large puzzle.

What about Congress? There are the likes of Congressmen Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) in the House while Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) resides in the Senate. There are many more who are reliable on certain issues, but not overly consistent across the board. It still doesn’t end here, because the Constitution is supposed to limit the scope of Congressional powers.

Our focus needs to be on local and state offices. Governors and legislatures wield a great deal of power over their state and can use that power to push back against the federal government. Using the Tenth Amendment, states have the power to stand up and they should do so. Making America great again isn’t all about immigration policy or jobs, because the heart of the American legacy is a limited government that truly enables free markets.

Freedom made America great. We make it great again by making liberty popular once again.

Chris Dixon is a liberty activist and writer from Maine. In addition to being Managing Editor for the Liberty Conservative, he also writes the Bangor Daily News blog "Undercover Porcupine" and for sports website Cleatgeeks.