A student wears a 'Make America Great Again' campaign hat as Mike Pence, 2016 Republican vice presidential nominee, not pictured, speaks at a Liberty University Convocation. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Perhaps we should all rejoice that Donald Trump chose "Make America Great Again" as his campaign slogan -- for the pleasure of all humanity, every time he invokes the phrase brings us that much closer to the last time we'll ever have to hear it.
In a global society, there is no more place for a country that bills itself as the "greatest and strongest" in the world, especially when these words mean using a great arsenal of weapons in order to prove just who the "greatest" really is. Throughout history, several fragile but powerful egos have hid behind words such as these. Some of them were simply crazy. No wonder people are waiting for heroes -- and governments aren't them.
No politician or citizen should repeat these troubling words. Sure, you can hold onto your gold medal for a year, but although calling a country "great" is supposed to be a call to nationalism, it only serves to feed the dangerous type of vanity that leads to wars and the politics of division.
No one is great, but everyone can be proud. We do not need to be proud of our country, we need to be proud of our own achievements. Proud of what we have succeeded to do with our individuality, with our family, with our community. Proud because we have agreed to the application of programs that are for the common good of people, animals and earth. And once we can be proud, we should be humble. No need to go brag that you are the greatest because of it. The fall is always too near for words like that.
Greatness is but an illusion. I have lived with families in over 110 countries, and every family was looking to show me "a something" or "a somewhere" in their country that made them proud. There is beauty everywhere. Wherever we are born, the beauties of our environment, our people, our hearts and our minds are what we should show the world. That and the simple pride that comes with bringing our contribution to the whole. By going around saying you are the greatest, you simply humiliate others, you bring them down without bringing yourself up in the mind of humankind.
Politicians cannot tell us we are great until every element of the society feels they can achieve their best.
I have come to appreciate smaller countries. It simply facilitates decision making. The results of decisions taken in countries where the population is less than 10 million such as in Scandinavia, Costa Rica and others is often because people's opinion can come to a consensus.
I am from Quebec where many people hope for independence. It's not the desire of a teenager that wants to go live alone. It is not because of hatred. It's just that the number would help make decisions easier. Decisions that would help the common good and help us be more open to the entire world.
Huge geographical countries do not make this possible, and certainly make it difficult.
I think it is easier to think globally than locally -- it is calm, peaceful and harmonious when you can look at your surroundings while encompassing all those who share planet Earth with you. Politicians cannot tell us we are great until every element of the society feels they can achieve their best.
A search for nationalism and power can only bring back a form of tribal attitude, and that small thinking has no more place in this world, either. When closing the door to the world you are returning to tribal thinking and that might bring you pain in the future.
Unfortunately, the call for nationalism functions well because the need of greatness is part of us. But greatness can only be in the small. You cannot live in every country of the world, but you can make it so that the entire world inhabits you. Being a citizen of the world is to be small and big.
Politicians know they cannot truly say, "We are the greatest." Instead, they say "let us be great again." I heard a politician say that in India this year. These words are echoed in many regions of the world -- it's not just Donald Trump. But which country was ever great in the greatest sense of the word? Was there ever a "great" country without slaves, without killing, without humiliating others? Without cheating and lying?
The vote in the U.S. represents five per cent of world opinion -- and because of that five per cent, should Americans think they have the power of decision over all humanity? At the eve of the 2016 American elections, the U.S. seems out of touch with reality. Maybe what would be wonderful, and maybe even great, today would be the capacity to have world referendums.
These days, it always seems to be about the country whose people are the happiest, whose environment is the cleanest, whose water is safest, whose men have awakened and whose women are the most empowered. But where we truly find global harmony is not by having pride in ourselves or our country, but in our contributions to the well-being of all humanity.
Do politician hear the wake-up call, or are they too small still to understand?
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