‘Make America Great Again’ served Donald Trump well during the 2016 presidential election. However, based on how things shaped up after he took the office, America was anything but great. My plea to the president-elect Joe Biden is simple: Just make America, America again.
As an immigrant Muslim, I arrived in America some 35 years ago with the same aspirations of everyone who has made America home. It is a land of opportunity. You can achieve your dreams if you work hard, regardless of your national origin, race, gender, ethnicity, or religious background.
We saw an erosion of these American values in the past 4 years. America has never been so polarized between the left and the right. Between Whites and Blacks. Between people of various faith traditions. Between people of different socio-economic status. Between immigrants and those who have been here for a while.
America was not great because we were the strongest military or the largest economy in the world. We were great because of our people and how everyone had equal opportunity to succeed. Immigrants were welcome and were integral part of great American stories, including the establishment of Silicon Valley. Religious minorities were free to practice their religion without fearing discrimination or demonization.
Hate speeches and hate crimes against immigrants, Blacks and religious minorities flourished in the past four years, often times by racist groups emboldened by Trump’s divisive rhetoric. We largely segregated into red states and blue states.
Instead of making America great again, we became UnUnited States of America. People around the world either hated us for the bullying, or feared. Some went along and became trade partners, but not because they respected us.
We were making deals with the dictators, while the democratic leaders were disenfranchised. We were increasingly being isolated, even among the western nations. We were no longer viewed as the beacon of democracy.
The biggest task for Joe Biden will be to start the healing process of a nation deeply divided. The temperature needs to be brought down. The race relations need to be repaired. The demonization of immigrants, women, people of color, Blacks, Muslims, Jews and other minorities must stop. Even when we disagree, we need to be civil. The president-elect needs to act presidential and not like a reality show star. He needs to make sure that we act like one nation under God. He needs to remind the nation that our diversity and democracy is what’s the envy of the world.
In other words, please make America, America again.