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Steve Novotney Says, "Define Great"

So what does it actually mean?

Great as in when?

President-elect Donald Trump was born in 1946, when America was getting the post World War II started, and schools were constructed across the country, and the federal interstate system finally was approved when he was 10 years old.

It was a period of economic growth across the country and especially here in the Upper Ohio Valley, too. Steel operations expanded, and every downtown district in East Ohio and the Mountain State's Northern Panhandle were busy areas,

During the second full decade of Trump's life the war in Korea was ending, and Vietnam was heating up, and that war ultimately began -- too turbulent of times, so it couldn't be then; and then the 1970s were haunted by the Watergate scandal, economic crisis, and the sudden nationwide visibility of terrorism.

The 1980s and '90s, though, were decent economic decades, and Trump experienced his most business success and celebrity during this time period, and then his brand reached the world with his TV show, "The Apprentice," beginning in 2004.

Could it be that kind of great?

Well, it turns out the folks on my Facebook page weren't worried about the "when" but the "how," and the suggestions ranged from a "IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID" theme to social equality. A few of them responded:

To have pride again, and to focus on the American people again to make the masses feel strong and respected and safe again;

For the average Joe to be able to believe in the American Dream again;

To stop being cruel and adopt mutual respect for one another while working to better the country and its people;

And, of course, there those out there who insist it's a mere campaign slogan that worked, a catchphrase just broad enough to lure the elders who remember when, and the young struggling with college loan debt now.

It seems some believe America's greatness is linked to unity instead of the oft-nasty political division that's been in place for more than a decade. While power of party has long been an ever-present priority it seems to me the partisanship has evolved into imperative with the members of the Republican and Democratic parties.

And President-elect Trump has stoked instead of squelched that separation since announcing his presidential bid more than a year ago, and the national media and late-night TV shows have played along, as well. When he officially moves into the Oval Office, Trump will have Republican majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress just as President Obama did eight years ago. The Obama Administration pushed through the Affordable Care Act before Election Day 2010, and now it appears the GOP wishes to repeal and replace the health care law with a version they deem better.

Our nation's next president has made a lot of promises, his nominees for Cabinet positions have disagreed with a plethora of his pledges, and the administrative roles family members will play have raised ethical eyebrows, so "interesting" is a lame-o adjective to utilize when describing what to expect during his first 100 days and beyond. His slogan, though, has set a bar both for advocates and opponents to use when measuring success.

But "Make America Great Again" surely sounds extremely attractive to the members of a diminished middle class, a group of folks that make up the majority of today's population that is wrestling with issues involving living-wage employment, health care costs, student loans, affordable housing, parenting, and retirement planning.

With those struggles so real it will be easy to tell if Trump's promised improvement arrives during the next four years, but if the country fails to get better, nasty nicknames for his opponents, his tweets against media outlets, and the President-elect's demonstrative demeanor might not be enough the next time "The Donald" appears on the ballot.

Categories: Commentary