You tend to forget that one of America’s greatest optimists

You tend to forget that one of America’s greatest optimists about the future of America was a bisexual man who wrote poetry and nursed soldiers during the Civil War. If Walt Whitman could remain an optimist, then why can’t you?

If you think that America’s darkest days are upon us, then you have completely forgotten most of history. This is not to say that our darkest days are yet to come. Indeed, they very well might be here before we know it. No great quasi-democratic republics ever lasted especially long. However, you have also seen the best that America could be, and that best is yet to come. What our President Elect was selling last year looks nothing like what you have in mind.

Are the farming, mining and manufacturing jobs all gone? They probably are. Who needs coal when there is an abundance of natural gas being pumped elsewhere? Who needs natural gas when solar is becoming so cheap? Who needs stuff anymore, anyway?

Are America’s greatest days all gone? They are if we let our fears get the better of us. If we see every stranger around the corner as a potential threat to our way of life, then we are no better than a small child frightened by monsters in the closet.

If Germany and China have been able to rise up and become economic contenders after being down for decades or centuries, then why can’t we? But, here’s the thing: if you are waiting around for your factory or mine to be re-opened by Mr. Trump, you are going to be waiting forever. If you think that learning an IT or medical field skill makes you less of a man than your granddad, you are not accepting personal responsibility, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, and looking to get done what needs to be done.

From where I’m sitting, the people waiting around for their local industries to return to what they once were are not much different than people waiting around for a welfare handout. If it’s work you want to do, then go and find work. If you want to do honest work with your hands instead of white collar work with your mind, then start using your brain to figure out how to export what it is you want to do on the open market.

In my estimation, just about anyone with a high school diploma can learn to be an entry-level IT systems administrator. The amount of information you have to memorize is more intense than the skills you memorize via muscle memory (working with your hands), but it isn’t rocket science. If it isn’t the kind of work you think you could ever learn to do, then there are any number of hand-crafted items you could learn to make, that people around the world would be willing to pay good money for–be it furniture or other wood/metal/ceramic pieces.

America can and will be great again, and the number of Mexicans and Muslims living here will have little or nothing to do with whether we rise or fall. If anything, I think that these people who come here for better lives could make us so much better and stronger if we were willing to talk to them and see how we can work with them. Working side-by-side with anyone who really wants to achieve the American Dream in its classic sense is a means to hear America singing again. If you are caught up in a false notion that only people with white skin can make America great, then you have forgotten what your grandparents died for in WWII. We Americans have already fought and won a bloody war to prevent Nazis from taking over the world–why are we letting people with Nazi mentalities rise up and get the better of us?

If you look at what happened to Germany, you will surely see the same thing potentially happening to us if we decide to expel all of the Mexicans and Muslims from this country. Germany was the top country in the world for any progress you can imagine in the arts and sciences, and when it decided to put to death and expel so many of the people that made that country great, it never completely recovered. Only in the past decade or so has Germany rebounded economically, but it is so very far from being again the kind of country it once was as it pertains to being respected for its scholarship and culture. What makes America great is our willingness to give just about anyone a chance to make something of themselves here. If we think that we would be a greater country for getting rid of most of the Mexicans and Muslims who are here trying to quietly live better lives than they could elsewhere–and retaining a majority of white people who only want factory and mining jobs and nothing else–we will soon find ourselves exponentially farther behind other nations in every area imaginable.

I would like to think that Donald Trump himself knows this, and his speeches of the past year or so were simply designed to gain a base of support from working class whites who didn’t want to be challenged to think harder and work harder for a different kind of future–but, the very fact that so many people living in America believe that we would be great again if we could do everything possible to make the U.S. look as much like the 1950s–this fact indicates that so few men and women in positions to educate and persuade individuals to think otherwise are doing their jobs.

If we were going to get America working again, building great things–making amazing new examples of cutting-edge transportation and building infrastructure–it would require significant tax increases upon the very wealthy, or perhaps a way of convincing the very wealthy to buy into government projects that were quasi-private. People want returns on their investments, which is understandable–they don’t want to just be taxed for the sake of being taxed to maintain what is already in place.

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