An Original KTJ Nation Article | March 24, 2022
The notion that America may be in the stages of decline is not a new idea. Several intellectuals have argued that our decline began shortly after the end of World War II, although most agree the most significant shift occurred sometime in the early seventies when the rise of academic Marxism, extremist political economies, and critical cultural studies began tearing at the fabric of American ideals. In 2016, when Donald Trump selected “Make America Great Again” as his campaign mantra, the implication became clear to generations of Americans who had not been privy to the subject of American decline as academic discourse. America was no longer great, at least not as great as it had once been, and measures would need to be taken to restore our economic stability, national security, and manufacturing and energy independence. And if Trump’s stunning presidential win showed us anything it’s that even when political roadblocks are overcome and new ideas are installed, implementing policy changes in a now corrupt and broken system not controlled by the people for the people but by career politicians, special interest groups, bureaucrats, media companies, and the super-rich, was going to be an uphill battle.
How did we get here? And is Donald Trump’s dream to “Make America Great Again” even fully possible in a country that elected a man like Joe Biden to commandeer our future and our interests and the interests of our children? When younger and younger generations of Americans are being taught to believe the American experiment has outlived its usefulness and it’s time for a radical reboot, how can we expect to reverse course if we can’t convince our own citizens that what we had and have is still the most viable path forward? These are polarizing questions and there are no simple answers, but what has become more and more clear is that neither Republicans nor Democrats seem 100% capable of running the show.
While thousands die and war rages in Ukraine, and China seriously contemplates a similar invasion of Taiwan, and our allies ponder their geopolitical futures as well as the liberty and safety of their citizens, we continue to fight amongst ourselves. It has been 156 years since the Civil War ended and nearly 70 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, yet we continue to promote this idea that America has not evolved at all. This idea of an active and pervasive inherent racism or prejudice, once solely reserved for African Americans, is now everywhere. The belief is expanding to include perceived marginalized people of all kinds despite the historic successes achieved for equality under the law not only for African Americans, but for women, gays, and trans people too.
We are not a perfect country, but this strife and conflict is an insidious distraction perpetrated by the internal and external enemies of American democracy. It’s making us weaker as a nation, less safe, and less smart. While our kids are Keeping up with the Kardashians and we bicker about race, gender identity, and critical race theory, a truly dangerous threat is growing all around us. Today, it’s more money at the gas pump or a few innocuous supply chain issues. A year from now, it’s food shortages and life-saving medications that are not available. If you think sketchy leaders and failed leadership policies don’t have the ability to cripple our economy or even annihilate life as we know it, think again. We are at a precipice. How we choose to govern ourselves and what we decide is truly important now may very well seal our fate as a nation. And if God forbid, we fail, what may eventually unite us is despondency—the despondency we feel when we realize we don’t recognize and may not be able to survive the system they put in play while we weren’t paying attention.