Social Question

Cruiser's avatar

Was America never Great?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) May 26th, 2016

A young lady who works at Home Depot was photographed wearing a cap that said ”America Was Never Great” and of course the picture went viral and set off a storm of reaction including Home Depot reprimanding the girl and putting in place a policy that forbids wearing campaign slogan hats etc.

Praise and death threats have come this girls way. How would you react to this girls hat and what are your thoughts on this?

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50 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I can’t speak for all of America, but Cleveland, Ohio was great in 1948 when the Indians won the world series.

Seriously – it’s a free country and she can put whatever she wants on her hat, when she is on her own time. Home Depot has the absolute right to discipline (or not) the woman based on its rules.

My two cents: the wording is bad. I would not have said “America was never great” I would have said “America was never perfect” – and that’s because the Declaration and Constitution talk about “a more perfect union”.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Well, I suppose it depends on what you are measuring or describing when you say “great”. Would you be describing childhood poverty, where the U.S. ranks just better than Romania? Or maybe infant mortality, where the U.S. is just beating out Hungary? Or maybe health care costs per capita, where the U.S. spends the most (and is damn proud of it). Or maybe life expectancy, where the U.S. proudly beats Qatar. I think we’d need to determine what the adjective is describing.

As for Krystal Lake and her hat, I would say that she may have a point when she says, “For the past two months, there have been a few people I work with wearing ‘Vote for Trump’ pins on their uniforms, but no one ever says anything to them.”

Do I have a problem with her hat? Absolutely not.

Cruiser's avatar

I agree with you @DoNotKnowMuch and I would add American Education to your list where I believe we are 14th in the world. Very not great.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Has anyone seen the photos if the “woman” in question? The look on her face?

She hates.

She hates everything, herself, her situation, her job, her equally shallow so called friends.

This was clearly a grab at attention, at the risk of her freaking living. Home Depot obviously has every right to object.

Oh honey… there are appropriate places to rage out. Haven’t you heard of the Internet?

kritiper's avatar

All of America is great. From the southern tip of South America to the coldest reaches of North America.

Zaku's avatar

What a freakin’ meaningless thing to argue about!

Please define “great”.

Then explain whether or not Wringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus accurately claims to be “The Greatest Show On Earth”.

I don’t know what’s being talked about, except it seems like a GREAT example of avoiding critical thinking and trying to force others to accept a meaningless statement without even knowing what it means.

And I think Home Depot’s reaction, and the reaction of all the upset bozos to a meaningless hat, is ridiculous and I hate being born into such a moronic culture. I anyone is going to threaten someone for wearing that hat, they have no business identifying with words like “freedom” or “liberty”.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“America Was Never Great.”

2 edgy 4 me.

ragingloli's avatar

She is right, you know.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Wow.

3 edgy 5 me.

Also, how does it feel to have been defeated by a not great nation?

ragingloli's avatar

What are you talking about?
The Soviet Union WAS great.

johnpowell's avatar

For a African American the hat is factually correct. Her parents had signs telling them where they could and could not go. That is not great.

So when I hear Trump be all “Make America Great Again” I think. White dudes run the show and “that is your water fountain you uppity negro” and “Shut up bitch and get back in the kitchen.”

GSLeader's avatar

It was, except for the last six or seven years or so when things really started turning for the worst. It should be great again sometime in the next one to five years or so.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser “How would you react to this girls hat”

I wouldn’t.

“and what are your thoughts on this?”

Whether or not America was ever great? Depends on what metric you’re measuring by.

@SecondHandStoke

That’s an amazing degree of clairvoyance you have there to be able to tell everything about this person and her life from a mere picture. Simply amazing.

@GSLeader

El-Oh-motherfucking-El.

ucme's avatar

Great Britain, all others are fucking imposters

Pachy's avatar

To say the word great is overused to the point of meaninglessness is an incredibly great understatement. As far as whether America was ever great, one would probably think so if he had to move to, say, North Korea.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar

Gut feeling.

Not infallible.

Also, I don’t get a pass and a slew of upvotes for being critical of “hate?”

What has happened to you Fluther?

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar Lets use the Trump metric of make America Great “again” which implies it was once great….really really great and Trump wants to take us back to this greatness again. Try and give an example or two when America was really at the top of its game. I believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great and obviously this girl thinks we were never great.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Cruiser: “I believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great and obviously this girl thinks we were never great.”

By what criteria could you say this and still have it apply to that woman? Back around this time? This? This? Last year?

Mimishu1995's avatar

What would you all think if suddenly I changed my avatar to “Vietnam was never great”?

Call me anything, but whenever I hear anyone bashing about their country, I want to say: “Dude, you don’t know what other countries think of yours.” Sure, there are problems in your country, but does that mean other countries have none? I encourage you to point out as many faults as you can, not bash your country so vaguely like that and wish you hadn’t been born there.

Not to mention America is the dream destination of people here alone.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ As an American I can explain this phenomenon to you.

America is a victim of it’s own success. Every new generation has a less accurate understanding of how good they have it.

It’s become fashionable to hate on our own prosperity. This is largely because younger people don’t have to work, fight, or even die to preserve it. All too often citizens here project their own self loathing on our country, our government. (something has got to be to blame for their unhappiness, it certainly can’t be themselves as individuals).

Also, many Americans refuse to understand that the threats to our very way of life now come in unorthodox (and illegal) forms.

Recognizing history is probably our only salvation. Sadly, we no longer want to do this. Our Civil War represents a perfect example. Many here imagine themselves too advanced to even be reminded of it. People want the Rebel Jack banned, Statues of significant individuals in the struggle are being removed. The more quickly our nation forgets our Civil War the sooner we can justify another one.

Fortunately, not every single US citizen thinks this way.

Of course other nations have their things to be proud of, but I for one never take how good my American life is for granted.

JLeslie's avatar

Everything is relative.

America was great when we were one of the few countries that recognized religion shouldn’t be in government. Our founding fathers were brilliant to create a country for the people, by the people, and dump the whole royalty schtick. As Americans we were able to succeed on our own merit and not bound to the social class we were born into.

Now, many many countries that do still have royalty, aren’t really governed my royals anymore. Religious freedom in other countries is easier to come by than 100 years ago.

More countries are becoming industrialized and the middle class is growing in those countries, but we were the country that took pride in our middle class. We used to brag about it. It was part of what made America really special. Now, a whole huge portion of the country seems to not give a shit. They don’t understand that Americas prosperity had a ton to do with having a large middle class.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

It seems like neighbor’s grass is always greener. Lets not let a single action from a single human being tarnish the reputation of an already great country. It’s a popular belief for many people from thrid world countries (if not all around the world) that America is a super power, world-leading country. One of the Big 5. If you go out there and ask about America many people will know that and some will even venerate you just because you’re an American so there’s no reason to disregard America’s greatness. I speak from a perspective of a foreigner. All countries have their ups and downs, and deeming them “never great” because of some particular things would be one-sided and unfair.

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch She seems a bit young and probably was not born yet in the days of our true greatness and not quite sure why you feel the need to make this a racial issue as my question has nothing to do about race??

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Cruiser: ”@DoNotKnowMuch She seems a bit young and probably was not born yet in the days of our true greatness and not quite sure why you feel the need to make this a racial issue as my question has nothing to do about race??”

You stated that you “believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great”. Many here have asked what could possibly be meant by “great”. I’m just trying to understand the criteria we are using. If we could identifying what we are measuring, we could identify when you are referring to. And for many people, it would be unreasonable to describe any time in the past as “great”. Race does matter here in this context.

Maybe you could elaborate on what you are referring to. This way, we needn’t have to guess.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Oh we can make anything about race.

It’s actually quite easy if you have nothing else productive to do .

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch I asked this question so YOU could comment and perhaps offer what you think what this “Great” means to you about America and whether it means “great again” or “never been great” like this girls seems to think. The answer should be beyond obvious to a real American living in this country. I also know it is obvious to many people around the world who would do anything to come live here if they could.

I all ready gave context to what I felt Great should apply to here in an earlier reply to another Jelly.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Cruiser: ”@DoNotKnowMuch I asked this question so YOU could comment and perhaps offer what you think what this “Great” means to you about America and whether it means “great again” or “never been great” like this girls seems to think.”

Right. And “great” without context is meaningless. I would assume we’re not talking about size. That is why I asked about how and what we would be measuring when using the term “great”.

@Cruiser: “The answer should be beyond obvious to a real American living in this country. I also know it is obvious to many people around the world who would do anything to come live here if they could.”

But it clearly is not. And since you believe it is obvious, it should be pretty easy to explain what you mean.

@Cruiser: “I all ready gave context to what I felt Great should apply to here in an earlier reply to another Jelly.”

Where is this? I just went back and read every word you typed here. Why not just explain?

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch I am not interested is what I think is great as I already know this much….I asked this so I could find out what the Jelly collectivey thought of this question….have at it if you wish. Since you feel that the greatness of this country is not obvious to you then you either do not live in America or if you do perhaps you should consider moving.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Cruiser: So, you couldn’t find the context you supposedly gave to another jelly after all.

@Cruiser: “Since you feel that the greatness of this country is not obvious to you”

I don’t think you understand. Great is an adjective that I don’t think can applied to a country. It is just nonsensical. You can say that a country has great ______ (natural beauty, public support system, etc). But to just apply an adjective to a country doesn’t make any sense.

@Cruiser: “then you either do not live in America or if you do perhaps you should consider moving.”

Oh, how many times I have been told I should move. It’s a strange line, and I’m not sure what to make of it. If a country has problems, why does a desire to fix them mean that the person should move? By this logic, we should have seen the mass exodus of conservatives in the past 8 years.

JLeslie's avatar

If race matters, and I understand why race changes someone’s perspective on whether a country was a great place to be, consider slavery and segregation. A bad time for many black people in America. However, some black slaves in America were slaves in their country. Moreover, not our entire country enslaved blacks, and certainly our entire country did not segregate them. It doesn’t excuse this time in our history, or dilute it, but it is worth noting.

Women are another minority group we could look at. I’m staying in a 55 and up community, and what stands out to me is how knowledgable, skilled, and multi talented many of the women are who are easily in their 70’s and 80’s. I’d guess many women here probably have higher educations too. My grandmother had her masters and she would be in her 90’s if she were alive. Anyway, last night we went to a bagpipes and drums practice and there were 3 women. Two on bagpipes and one on drums. It seems like a fairly masculine instrument in my mind, but they learned how to play as youngsters.

I know many many women over the age of 60 who are accountants, business owners, scientists, psychologists, and even though we talk so much about women’s rights, which I think is very important, there is all sorts of evidence that a lot of women had opportunity to pursue interests and careers. Has it been horrible for women in the past? Was America never really great for women? It’s a matter of perspective. It’s a work in progress.

It seems like the path to greatness zig zags, and makes a few loops, sometimes loops back, rather than being a straight line.

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch I fail to make a connection as to why you are so obsessed with this question and why you find it so hard to answer a simple question I asked. Either you think America is great or like Donald suggests could be great again or you side with this girl I posted this question about and you feel this country never was great. Please provide your answer as to how YOU feel about this question of whether America is great or not great or just move along.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

Not obsessed with the question. I was just hoping I could clarify what you meant. I suspected that nobody really understood what the saying even means, and thread confirms my suspicions. I hope you understand that “Is America great?” is the equivalent of asking “Is sandwich not?” for some of us.

If we have any hope of coming up with solutions (not just the two of us, but people in general), it is never a wasted effort to try to understand each other.

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch Since you did ask…

@Cruiser: “I all ready gave context to what I felt Great should apply to here in an earlier reply to another Jelly.”

Where is this? I just went back and read every word you typed here. Why not just explain?

I have cut and pasted my earlier reply to @Darth_Algar which I hope brings some clarity here for you

@Darth_Algar Lets use the Trump metric of make America Great “again” which implies it was once great….really really great and Trump wants to take us back to this greatness again. Try and give an example or two when America was really at the top of its game. I believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great and obviously this girl thinks we were never great.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

@Cruiser – ^ This is the pattern we were in the other thread. You suspect this explains what it does not explain.

@Cruiser: “Lets use the Trump metric of make America Great “again” which implies it was once great….really really great and Trump wants to take us back to this greatness again. Try and give an example or two when America was really at the top of its game. I believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great and obviously this girl thinks we were never great.”

This statement just repeats the word “great” again, with an extra “greatness”. Hmmm… I’ve asked you for details and moments and time, and this paragraph above – which provides neither – is your answer.

Cruiser's avatar

@DoNotKnowMuch Once again….I asked this question so YOU could provide your thoughts here. I can’t force you and won’t bother replying to you any further.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How about if we brainstorm on what measurements should be used to measure the “greatness” of a country. Any country. Then it’s a matter of ranking this list. Then what is a realistic percentage goal.

If the collective is willing to work together on the first phase, then count me in. A recommendation would be to do so in a separate question.

As for my thoughts about the Home Depot clerk wearing that hat to work is that the company, managers and supervisors should be wise enough to ban “flair” in their dress code.

Cruiser's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer IMHO being great is a fluid and constantly moving metric. It is fairly easy to point to years in time or even generations where the USA was great or greater and just as easy to point to points in time (like now) where we are not as great and even have moments in time where the US was a POS country. Honestly to say we are great as a country is narcissistic at best when so many other countries are struggling and even suffering greatly. Even our own citizens and immigrants are enduring immense hardships and until these wrongs are righted we have a ways to go to even thing we are close to being great again.

JFK uttered those brilliant insightful immortal words….“Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country”....when we start doing this again…there is hope we can say we are a great country again.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser “Lets use the Trump metric of make America Great “again” which implies it was once great….really really great and Trump wants to take us back to this greatness again. Try and give an example or two when America was really at the top of its game. I believe there are quite a few moments in time when we were really great and obviously this girl thinks we were never great.”

“American was once great. Really, really great. The greatest. That I can tell you. The greatest of the greatest. Just really, really awesomely great. I can’t tell you when, or how or in what exactly, but believe me, it was great. Maybe you could tell me how is was great.”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Cruiser, isn’t that just another sentiment being thrown out there to generate patriotic emotion? Sure, it works in the moment, but just like listening to any inspirational speaker, the magic wears off.

There has to be a clear vision supported by objectives, strategies, goals and tasks, all which come with measurements to know if they have been achieved.

Cruiser's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer **EXACTLY** and why Trump is so popular. We have lacked that vision and leadership for over 16 years now and our country is hungry to have someone anyone who can map out a way out of this economic cesspool we are currently living in.

@Darth_Algar Well then….lets start with landing a man on the moon, next lets put inventing the internet, followed by out strategeizing Russia over the Bay of Pigs. Yes we have made serious blunders over the year yet we recognized our short comings and we abolished Slavery, gave women the right to vote and are advancing the rights of the GLBT.

In the 70’s and 80’s we were the clear leader in innovation is mechanical and technological advances….we are sorely lagging in this are now. Racism and bigotry still infect our populations and where we also can make lots of head way.

We as a country have won more Olympic medals that any other country and more than double the second place country Russia.

We have the best medical services in the world albeit the most expensive as well. We have the most sophisticated and powerful military in the world with room for much better leadership.

Most importantly we have our Constitution and our Bill of rights which guarantees free speech, the right to bear arms and ensures freedoms unequaled by any other country in the world. I could go on but I have to leave now for the lake house.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Cruiser

- Sure, we put a man on the moon. The Soviet Union beat us in pretty much every other aspect of the space race however.

- You’re seriously trying to argue the Bay of Pigs as a win for the United States? Really? The same Bay of Pigs in which the US government backed a Cuban counter-revolutionary force to overthrow the Castro regime, then left that force high-and-dry to be crushed by Castro’s military resulting in a huge international embarrassment for the US and for the Kennedy administration. You’re counting that as an example of America being great?

- Oh hey, we finally abolished slavery (after many other countries already had). We finally gave women the right to vote (after many other countries already had). We’re finally doing something about LGBT rights (after many other countries already have). Go us!

- Does this Olympic medal count include both summer and winter games, or only one? Does it account for times, such as the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis where there were virtually no competitors from outside the United States. Does it factor in times when other nations have boycotted the Olympic games, or may otherwise not have been able to participate for whatever reasons (war, lack of funding, etc, etc, etc)? Ultimately, is this really much of a measuring stick to begin with?

- As other nations have proven, first rate medical services can be rendered to entire populations at a much lesser expense that what we pay.

- And we only spend pretty much more than the rest of the world combined for that military. But it’s good to ensure that Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Boeing stay profitable.

- You think the United States is the only country with such rights and liberties?

JLeslie's avatar

America was “great” when other countries were shit for the average person. It really sucked in many of the countries that people immigrated from back in the day. Once unions controlled the abuse and pay for factory workers and some other industries things got even better, because money helps. We expanded into suburbs and life was more comfortable. More space. Lawns for children to play on.

I’m moving into the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. We had won a war, we went to the moon, we had a car in every garage. There was all this horrible stuff in the background. Important leaders of that time were murdered, children were killed in churches, protestors were harmed in the streets.

Maybe making America great again, is making America a place we can be proud of? It won’t be like before though. Other countries have caught up, or passed us in some ways. I think the days of having a big head, and feeling better than the rest are somewhat over. I say, so what? I don’t care about America being the best or the greatest, I just care that we are good. That the world is good. If all countries can be great then that’s wonderful in my opinion.

Sentences like our President is the leader of the free world bother me. It sounds so cocky. A lot of people need to feel superior to feel good at all. I think Trump plays on that. I think great to some of his followers means better than the other guy. More powerful.

Cruiser's avatar

@Darth_Algar Yes to all of your counter points. Our medical services Trump any other countries and why many foreigners pay out their ass to get treatment from our Mayo Clinic.

Yes the Olympic medal count includes both winter and summer Google it if you dont believe me. What made America great is the ability of individuals and yes even corporations to make a profitable business succeed….what made America suck is voters who voted douchebags into office who allowed their cronies to rape, pillage and offer freebies to the lazy to grab the steering wheel to our country. Years ago we did not have this problem…so I ask why is that?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie The 50s-70s in the US wasn’t all that great. Not everyone had a car, nor a garage (equating to being financially able to move to the suburbs).

Slavery may have been abolished decades before, but discrimination still ran rampant, and it wasn’t limited to African-Americans. Segregation still existed in various forms, even if was against the law.

The US contributed to winning WWII, but to say that “we had won the war” is not how I would describe it. It is a disservice to those from other Allied countries that were long in the fight and took a greater loss before the US finally got involved. Don’t forget that the US was also involved in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I know, but I think a lot of people look back on that time as great, mostly because they were kids.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie The lily white middle-class kids who didn’t know any better.

JLeslie's avatar

Exactly.

DominicY's avatar

“Look, the point of the hat—”
“Oh it’s a great hat, no one’s questioning the hat.”

(Simpsons quote about a “chore hat” that this whole debacle made me think of). Personally I like the hat because I think Trump’s rhetoric is a bunch of hollow bullshit. A rose-tinted view that is the natural consequence of every aging generation to want to go back to some fantasy realm of perfection that never existed. People who think electing this bozo into office is actually going to make anything “great” are severely kidding themselves. The fact that she got death threats is just perfect, and illustrates the extent to which people cannot handle opinions different from their own.

In the sense of “great” that Trump and his supporters mean, the hat is spot-on. But since “America is great” can mean almost anything (“great” is about the subjective word in existence), the hat (and likewise, Trump’s slogan) is going to be meaningless for a lot do people.

I think America would be great with Bernie as president. I think laws preventing discrimination against trans people and legal same-sex marriage make this country great. Most Trumpian “great“ers wouldn’t share my view. But that just illustrates how subjective it is in the first place.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@DominicY

Spot fucking on.

Cruiser's avatar

@DominicY Best answer ever here on Fluther….thanks for your insight!

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