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Today’s America: It could be better, but it is already great

grubaugh new pic    What is greatness? I find myself asking that question a lot these days.
    Donald Trump promises to “Make America Great Again.” But the last time I looked, this country was great and still is.
    Compared to much of the world, America is superior in almost every form, from its standard of living to its beauty to its opportunity to its freedoms — including the freedom to debate greatness.
    Perhaps I’m guilty of idealism. During a recent vacation, I spent time at Yellowstone Park, a place that encourages quiet reflection. It has been touched by the hand of God and left for us to enjoy.
    The U.S. National Park Service is one of our strongest resources, preserving attractions so unique that they draw visitors from throughout the world — often outnumbering visitors from the homeland. These outsiders recognize what a truly great place this country is, something that many of us here fail to comprehend.
    Right now, you can say the same thing about people begging to become citizens. They see what America offers, but their sheer numbers have become unmanageable. Trump has twisted that concern during his meteoric rise.
    U.S. immigration policy does need to be fixed but not by slamming a door like some merciless neighbor as people stand on the threshold seeking to fulfill their dreams.
    Trump’s positions on Mexicans, Muslims and walling off the outside world is reason enough to disqualify him from being our president. But if you need another, try his lack of substance. His solutions are shallow at best and downright dangerous at worse.
    Historically, our presidents have been men — so far, at least — who see value in deliberation. They understand the necessity of quiet diplomacy. They see that America’s many problems cannot be fixed by an iron fist.
    You can criticize government for its overreach, its sea of regulations and its power to pry into peoples’ lives. However, those failings don’t detract from what our forefathers set in place. They gave us a political structure that provides checks and balances so that no person has too much power. Yet, everyone has a chance to participate and weigh in on how we can do things better. It is a system honored the world over, emulated time and again — yet sadly despised by those who seek to do us harm, for reasons of zealotry, jealousy or sheer insanity.
    Mr. Trump’s campaign, of course, has inserted a masterful wedge between America’s have and have-nots. If you have a decent life, you’re more apt to say America is great. I believe more people would have the life they aspire to if they simply seek it out and not depend on everyone giving them what they need.
    The scariest part of Campaign 2016 is this: If you say something enough times, people begin to take it as fact. I think more people need to say, “America is Great.” And they need to believe it.
    Dennis Grubaugh is editor and partner of the Illinois Business Journal. He can be reached at or (618) 977-6865.

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