We hear a lot of people sneering with contempt at Donald Trumps call to arms to ‘Make America Great Again’. They try to intellectualise it and pretend they don’t understand what he means. Some say that America was never that great anyway.
With this week, being the 50th anniversary of the moon landing there is no better time to reflect and there is no better example as to exactly what he means.
The moon landing was symbolic. It was, literally, a reach for the stars moment.
It was symbolic of what can be done and in a short time frame with purpose, focus and zeal.
It’s not just about America though.
It’s the West more generally. It’s about reigniting the spirit, the zeitgeist and the sense of optimism of the times.
A time when countries like the US, Australia and the west generally, led the world in everything from manufacturing all manner of goods, to quality education, to full employment, to home ownership, pride in ourselves and our nation and yes, putting a man on the moon.
A time when our political class made things happen and got things built.
Whatever it means, “we were worlds best practice’ before that line became a tired and hackneyed marketing cliche.
In 1969 we could put a man on the moon but here we are in 2019 and we have governments that can’t deliver affordable or reliable energy or move water from where it is to where it is needed or build other desparately needed infrastructure.
It was a time of social cohesion and self discipline.
Taxpayer handouts and social welfare as a lifestyle choice, drugs, obesity and antisocial behaviour, to the extent that they now exist were an unimaginable world away as was the pampered, indulged snowflake and selfie generation,.
Although not perfect, it was a time when people actually tried to live up to the Kennedy dictum of “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” and that’s nothing to sneer at or hold in contempt.
It was also a time when people had respect for our institutions and respect for each other.
Sure America, Australia and the rest of the west have made mistakes but they aren’t, in and of themselves, a mistake.