Don’t normalize ‘Make America Great Again’

This week, Daily Campus opinion columnist discusses President Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again!" and the numerous brands and people who reprinted it to serve their own messages. (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

This week, Daily Campus opinion columnist discusses President Donald Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again!" and the numerous brands and people who reprinted it to serve their own messages. (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

“Make America Great Again!” That was President Donald Trump’s slogan when he ran for president. Since he’s become president, the slogan has become even more popular. Numerous brands and people have reprinted it to serve their own messages. In the last week I’ve seen “Make Pizza Great Again,” “Make Music Great Again” and “Make America Gay Again.” That last one gave me a chuckle. Especially seeing it juxtaposed against the original campaign that brought us the iconic statement in the first place. I just have a small problem with the continued use of the message. All it’s doing is normalizing the Trump presidency.

I can already see the comment section. “It’s just a slogan.” “Something is always offending this generation.” “What a snowflake.” And, my personal favorite, “If you don’t like America, feel free to leave.”

Let’s get the whole non-America loving-b.s. out of the way. I love this country. I’m a first generation America, my parents emigrated here from India. I’m an Eagle Scout and, regardless of what happens, America will always be my home. I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

But back to the issue at hand. Merchandise with any kind of play on the whole MAGA thing need to go. Seriously. I get why you would want to use them for your brand. The whole “MAGA” statement is iconic. Trump’s rise to presidency was a weird mix of racism, grand-standing and just truly insane comments that read more like a reality television special than a presidential campaign.

It was eye-catching, it was chaotic and it was something that nobody had ever seen before. More important than anything else, it got people talking. And so anyone with any knowledge of marketing would definitely try and capitalize on it.

If you’re going to capitalize on it, you better know exactly what you are capitalizing on. We all watched the same campaign. Trump kicked things off by calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. When proof emerged that he had talked about sexually assaulting women, he responded by saying it was just “locker room talk,” whatever the hell that is. He called for the attack on a presidential candidate and also called for Russian hackers to hack into Hillary Clinton’s private email. Hackers that we now know were trying to influence the election.

Trump hasn’t dropped the phrase since he was elected. In fact merchandise with that phrase can still be bought on his website. Apparently Trump is still trying to make America great again.

Since he’s been elected there has been a rise in Nazi gatherings with one of their gatherings leading to the death of a counter protester. There’s been a shooting in Las Vegas. A hurricane has ripped through Puerto Rico and we’ve barely responded. Instead, our dear president has spent his time attacking anti-Nazi protestors and calling the leader of North Korea “rocket man.” I don’t know about you, but none of that seems like something great.

Using the MAGA statement only seeks to normalize the Trump presidency. Every single week, Trump does something insane, yet it’s kind of expected. At this point the thing only that would surprise me is if the House of Representatives decides to impeach Trump. Seeing everything Trump all over the place has started to normalize us to his actions, no matter how crazy they are.

We should never become used to Trump. His actions should always remain the outlier, not the norm. He says he wants to make this country great again. This country has never really been great. We have a history filled with racism, sexism, xenophobia and countless other horrible acts. We’ve committed acts of genocide against populations that could never defend themselves and have attempted to re-write history so we always seem like the savior. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

MAGA implies that Trump plans to use his presidency to bring America back to some point in the past. As a person of color, that terrifies me and every day that we allow Trump memorabilia to become a part of pop culture we get closer to his goal of a new (old) America.

America needs change but not in the way that Trump wants. Don’t normalize “Make America Great Again” and don’t let Trump win.   


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.