A recent Los Angeles Times column raises issues I wish to discuss here. While painting the contrast between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in usual corporate media fashion as Trump the villainous remnant of ages past and repository of the frustrations of the “deplorables,” vs. Hillary the vanguard and wave of a multicultural, cosmopolitan future, the concepts of “Old America” and “New America” are interesting and worth exploring.
Yes, there is a sense in which Trump represents an “Old America.” And in the same sense Hillary represents the “New America,” as do Barack and Michelle Obama. What matters is the substance behind those expressions, as opposed to politically correct (PC) propaganda.
The “Old America” embodied easily identifiable values: Christianity, Constitutional controls on government, responsible freedom, family, involvement in one’s community. The “Old America” valued work. It understood enough economics to know that wealth must be produced. Wealth isn’t created by government handouts any more than it falls from the sky.
The “Old America” didn’t see economics as the end-all, be-all of human existence, however.
Money was not an end in itself but a means to other ends. Sometimes the “Old America” struggled to define those other ends. I do not believe it solved the problems created by the increasing secularization of civilization, which were causing it substantial problems with some of its offspring as early as the 1950s. “Old America” as not Utopian in its outlook, however. It had more things right than it had wrong.
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