Saturday marks the beginning of the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and gives us an opportunity to look backward, as well as forward. Our default tendency is to look to others to cast blame or fault while relying on the wisdom of our own world view and opinion to offer “should haves” and solutions.

Perhaps, instead, we should look collectively at where we have been the past year as a nation and imagine how the year ahead can look different – and better – if we imagine together. And imagine an America once again united in purpose and in patriotism.

President Ronald Reagan always believed that America’s best days were yet ahead. Do we still believe that?  Do our children?  Unfortunately, in many ways they have been immersed in a perpetual bath of cynicism, negativity and criticism about the world around them. Yet we expect them to lead us forward someday in a direction that will guide us all and shape our destiny as a nation. What will result from that toxic and destructive immersion?

America’s greatest exports have always been ingenuity, creativity, optimism and liberty. But these traits only flourish when there is freedom to think and dream and imagine in places that are open, accepting and non-judgmental. Our politically correct culture has all but ensured that expansion of thought is being replaced with alignment of thought.

The long-term consequences of the politically correct culture of the current age are not yet known, but certainly will lead to decreased imagination and end in smaller thoughts, not larger ones. And to our peril, rather than our progress.

In many ways the past year has not represented the best of us. Some have allowed their emotions to lead them to irrational conclusions over the course of the past 12 months. In 2018 can we dial down the hysteria of the past year and evaluate the merits of substance?

Even those who are critics of President Trump have seen growth in their 401Ks, watched their stocks increase in value, are seeing their taxes reduced, seeing onerous regulations repealed, and will benefit from the decrease in unemployment and the repatriation of funds which will boost every sector of the American economy.

And for those who have been dependent on government subsidies and assistance, jobs are coming back to America by the tens of thousands, and with this comes the opportunity to return to the work force, to pursue a career with purpose and meaning, and to once again assume the dignity and pride that comes with self-provision.

Though the facts and the figures foretell an optimistic future, the naysayers continue the drumbeat of negativity. Can we pause for a moment and look beyond the style to the substance? 

Do we as a nation still have that capacity?  Would we rather have a beautifully wrapped package that is empty?  Or a priceless gift that is wrapped in an old newspaper and tied with scratchy twine?  Do we turn away the delivery of a gift because we don’t like the style or the semantics of the person delivering that gift?

I believe we still are a people of substance. That we value results, truth and the facts of the interior over the deceit of an appealing, yet empty, wrapping.

I believe we still are a people of substance. That we value results, truth and the facts of the interior over the deceit of an appealing, yet empty, wrapping.

We have chased the shiny dangly objects of distraction and shallowness the past year instead of applying the discipline and rational commonsense needed to examine and evaluate substantive change based on merit, not on packaging. It’s time that stop.

Under President Trump, the course has been set and we are heading in the right direction. Can we as a nation celebrate that? And set aside the pettiness of politics and applaud the policy changes that are making America safer and stronger and are leading to increased opportunity and growth and prosperity?  

And can we cultivate that longing for America at its best once again?  If we truly want to return to the greatness of our nation as it was under Ronald Reagan – restoring national pride, economic stability, military strength and global leadership – perhaps we all should wholeheartedly embrace the slogan that President Reagan coined during his 1980 election cycle, and that Donald Trump has slightly shortened and championed since announcing his candidacy.

The Reagan slogan was “Let’s Make America Great Again.” The Trump slogan, as we all know, was “Make America Great Again.”

I believe if we strip away the division of partisan politics and silence the cacophony of negativity and look at what unites us, not divides us, we all want America to be great again. It’s the true longing of America for 2018.

Peggy Grande is author of “The President Will See You Now”, a keynote speaker and a specialty project consultant. She was the executive assistant to president Ronald Reagan from 1989 – 1999.

Source: FoxNews

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