A Greater America: Introduction

According to Snopes, the Make America Great Again (replace America with Germany or whatever country you’re in) is a super-common political slogan, as dangerously effective as Think of the children and It’s just common sense. It was pretty chilling when Trump adopted it as his masthead slogan (and made a hat) because this was right about the time some editorialists (including myself) were observing You know Hitler-Trump is a little too much on the mark.

Then it came out that Trump was going to hand full stewardship of the nation to the vice president (not yet Pence at the time) because he was going to be busy Making America great again. It sounded like Trump was harkening to a specific era, but there wasn’t one that was particularly great, certainly not one that was great for everyone. And that’s when I realized this might be a dog-whistle message to restore specific circumstances from past eras for those people who miss them. It could be to return jobs to our industrial laborers. It could be to get nonwhites off the streets and out of the swimming pools. Trump fervently promised both.

At this point our President Elect now has a website at greatagain.gov (yes, he has his own .gov page now.) where he’s asking people how they want America to be great again.

And that brings me to this new feature.

A Greater America on SNW is going to be a place where I put my ideas of things that can be done that would make the United States better than it is. Possibly even in a way that it once was. The United States has a lot of problems.

For example, in the Cold War, there was a notion that people with power, whether police or anti-terror or nuclear submarine captains or even the President himself needed to be exteremely aware — to a fault even — of the responsibility of holding that power and, were cautious and deliberate in how they used it, to the point of even being hesitant.

While it’s possible that police have always been quick to shoot people they didn’t like, and were easily exonerated by their Internal Affairs departments, the standard to which we held the police was different. I was taught in school that police exercised that same degree of caution and deliberateness that our officials did when directing military action. I was taught that a typical police officer could go through his entire career without ever discharging his gun once (outside the shooting range). And instead, a police officer relied on negotiation and deescalation to handle day-to-day situations.

Hollywood, that is television and movies, reflected this notion. Sure, the nice buddy policemen would eventually pull out their guns, but only when the bad-guys, usually played by Robert Forster or Charles Dance or Steven Berkoff, drew their guns. And even the loose cannon cop with the giant high-caliber handgun wouldn’t shoot if someone wasn’t obviously a bad guy.

The thing is, there are real-world examples. The GSG 9 or Grenzschutzgruppe 9 is a german counter-terror police unit who specializes (much like SWAT used to) in hostage / barricade situations. From 1972 to 2003 they completed over 1500 sorties successfully all the while discharging their weapons only five times.

So I know it’s possible. I just don’t know yet how to get us there.

In the meantime police brutality and judicial overreach are pandemic throughout the United States, and the norm in minority communities.

If our justice system returned evolved to the state we imagine them to be in our fictional media, starting with a hesitation to resort to violence, in favor of proportionality and deescalation, that would be a pretty big step towards a greater America.

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