The future is uncertain; the past is familiar and has lost its bite. It’s natural to feel fear of what is to come when the present is troubling. In lieu of courage, memories pacify with pride. History gives us spirit to continue into what gives no promise.
Too, in America, our histories lack gloomy endings and repugnant themes. Our myth-makers and professional interpreters give us motivational tales of a land where freedom and democracy flow like milk and honey — even if, sometimes, it must be forced from stricken rocks. Here are stories of inspiration and affirmation: a forward march to the ultimate achievement of humankind.
If Pax Americana is still ascendant, it is the democracy achieved that we recognize. Future birthrights are not yet known. When, then, our now seems tenuous and our way, threatened, we are reassured by memories of achievements past. We take comfort in times after previous storms, when we knew blissful success. We are consoled by post-victory peace — the confidence of which we hope to have once more.
So, Make America Great Again. Bring back a romanticized past that is still with us but feels like it might be lost. Remind us when we can’t feel our privilege — we were better once, and that is still us.