I am really at a loss at those folk who supported Trump and his idea of what America should be like. His America first slogan – one that takes us back to the isolationist America of pre-WWII where many urged us to stay out of the European War despite what we know now would have ended in a great tragedy for our country. Many seem to forget that Nazi Germany was far advanced in the development of the Atom Bomb and Jet planes. Who knows what would have happened had it had some more time to conquer Europe?
When I grew up in America the idea of America first was not in most people’s thoughts. We had abandoned that idea knowing that what happened outside America had a profound effect on our country. We only had to look at WWI and WWII to recognize a hands off policy to the rest of the world brought about tragic consequences.
We learned after WWI that the Treaty of Versailles which was instituted to punish Germany was ill advised. Knowing that, after WWII we took another course. We decided the best thing we could do, for ourselves and for the European nations, was to aid them in getting back on their feet. It was with that thought in mind that the Marshall Plan was instituted in April 1948. Aid was distributed to 16 European nations, including Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, West Germany and Norway. The main purpose was to help these nations rebuild and to stymy the encroachment of the Soviet Communist system onto these nations some of whom were on the brink of starvation.
In the year following the Marshall Plan we created NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The purpose of it was for the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. This was the first time in American history that during peacetime it entered into a military alliance outside of the Western Hemisphere.
The result of our looking beyond America was an extended period of peace that lasted over 70 years. The Soviet Union was kept at bay. The European nations grew strong and created the European Union, and all the nations which we helped grew and prospered.
Then Trump came along and preached a different tune. Folks forgot how beneficial peace is to the world. We were going to turn ourselves into an isolationist country and face the world alone. Our friends would not be the countries with whom we had maintained peaceful relationships with but those run by dictators like Putin and the murderer Mohammed bin Salman.
I recall being proud of the aid we would send to other countries or to people in foreign nations struggling to better their lives or faced with disasters. The American flag to me represented a nation proud to lead the world forward into better times. We sought freedom and peace for others, sometimes clumsily.
That all seemed to change. It was a strange new America. What most confused me is where did these people come from who no longer believed in helping others? How long had this selfish streak existed in our country? Why was it so many were desirous of denying others the opportunities that they had? How was it the flag was coopted by others to portray hate and evil rather than the goodness I saw in it?
It was not possible that one man was able to change so many. They had to have been hiding their hatred and selfishness. They were not changed but let loose to spill their bile throughout our beautiful land. Ever the pity.