By Olivia Copsey – Horizon Guest Contributor
Carrying out this project had one consistent challenge. That challenge occurred with the wording of presidential candidate, Donald Trump’s, campaign slogan. Trump’s slogan, and my attempt to revise it, brought about the question of whether or not there ever was an initial time when America was truly fulfilling one of the words that people were to insert into the blank space after “America” and before, “Again.”
In the case of Michele Hershberger’s words, “Safe for Native Americans,” Hershberger remarks that there really was a time when America was safer for Native Americans: a time also known as “before the Europeans arrived.” But the problem, perhaps with the campaign slogan itself, and the insertion of a new word into the slogan, was that the phrase seems to suggest that there is another time in the past to which the U.S. should hearken back to. Therefore, this project has to be explained.
This project’s purpose is to acknowledge other areas that American citizens should focus on. The ever-famous Trump slogan, perhaps its larger problem, is that it is focusing on an ambiguous and ambivalent concept that America should be working on. When in reality, this day and age is arguably one of the best times to be alive. In the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Michele Obama stated, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great” in reference to the platform used by Donald J. Trump.
This statement made by Michele got me thinking, and it also got the people of the Internet thinking. People began to re-make the platform statement posting things such as “Make America KIND Again”, “Make America LOVING again” and the like. Therefore, through photography, I hope that this project helps one to take their focus off the idea of “superiority”, “greatness”, and “pride”, and instead, look at other areas of importance such as, “safety for Native Americans, the distribution of generosity, the acts of compassion…” and so forth. I hope you enjoy!
Biblical Studies Professor
Her word(s): Make America Safe for Native Americans Again
“I believe one of the greatest tragedies of our collective American story is our treatment of Native Americans over the last 400 plus years. We’ve stolen their land, made unfair treaties with them, broken the same treaties, and poked fun at their culture through a variety of sports mascots. We’ve done whatever we could to dehumanize them. When we put them on reservations, we not only took their lands and their way of making of living, but we took their soul–their identity and culture. Now, there’s a big oil company, with backing from US banks, at it again in North Dakota. Our Native American brothers and sisters are trying to protect the Missouri River watershed and save us from environmental disaster and we repay them by ignoring the treaty we made with them, bulldozing through their sacred burial grounds and pepper-spraying their elders. I want America to be safe and free for all peoples, but especially the First Peoples who have been here a long, long time.”
His word(s): Make America Civil Again
“I have really been scratching my head on this one. I love America and think my country has done some good things, but I can’t think of anything from the past that was better for everyone or that I would like to return to.”
Professor of Biblical Studies
His word(s): Make America Generous Again
“I think this country is at its best in the times we have been generous–generous to immigrants of all kinds. Once it was the Irish Catholics who were not welcome, the Chinese, and now others. We have a self-image of generosity. Don’t we give more foreign aid than any other country? It’s under 1% of federal budget. I think 19 countries give more than we do. We can do better.”
Her word(s): Make America Compassionate Again
“In recent years I have noticed a lot of violence and anger from people in the United States. There have been numerous shootings, violent protests, and hateful messages posted on social media. I have also noticed that people in the United States can be self-centered. In a nation of competition, a nation who fights to be “the best” at everything, I think we often forget that there are people in our country and in the world who are struggling and who need help. This is why I chose compassion as my word. I believe that if people in the United States would care and show empathy to others, our nation and the world would be a much better place.”
Her word(s): Make America Accepting Again
“I chose to “Make America Accepting Again” because what our country, and also our world, really needs right now, is to be accepting of others. We all have our differences, but we should not discriminate against others because of those differences. Those differences make each one of us unique. I do not believe that we should keep immigrants out of the United States. Not letting other people into this country or being exclusive is not showing God’s love; and God loves everyone. We should love and accept others too. After all, Jesus, God’s own son, was an immigrant. Our country needs to stop fighting about who does and doesn’t belong here and just accept people from everywhere.”