Sure, I’m able to say something good about Republican President Ronald Reagan. In fact, I’m pretty sure I voted for him—at least the first time around. I did the same for his predecessor, Democrat Jimmy Carter.
And here’s where Donald Trump—exuding white nationalism—with his hard-line anti-immigration policies, stole to serve his own ends the phrase “Make America Great Again.” It is straight from a speech by Republican Ronald Reagan in a presidential campaign almost 40 years ago, on Labor Day 1980 in New Jersey. The thing is: Reagan used the expression in a definite pro-immigrant context. Donald, en route to the GOP nomination in 2016, said in a 2015 interview with MyFox New York: "The line of 'Make America great again,' the phrase, that was mine, I came up with it about a year ago, and I kept using it, and everybody's now using it, they are all loving it. I don't know, I guess I should copyright it, maybe I have copyrighted it.” He even accused Texas Senator Ted Cruz of “ripping him off” when Cruz made use of the phrase in his own presidential campaign announcement.
Typical off-hand hogwash from Donald. I’m surprised he hasn’t claimed writing the fourth verse of the Star Spangled Banner.
Here’s a fair-sized portion of Reagan’s 1980 speech given in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty: "Through this Golden Door, under the gaze of that Mother of Exiles, has come millions of men and women, who first stepped foot on American soil right there, on Ellis Island, so close to the Statue of Liberty.
“These families came here to work. They came to build. Others came to America in different ways, from other lands, under different, and often harrowing conditions, but this place symbolizes what they all managed to build, no matter where they came from or how they came or how much they suffered.
“They helped to build that magnificent city across the river. They spread across the land building other cities and towns and incredibly productive farms.
“They came to make America work. They didn’t ask what this country could do for them but what they could do to make this, this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history.
“They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace and freedom. We all came from different lands but we shared the same values, the same dream. . .
“This country needs a new administration, with a renewed dedication to the dream of an America -- an administration that will give that dream new life and make America great again! Restoring and revitalizing that dream will take bold action . . .
“I want more than anything I've ever wanted, to have an administration that will, through its actions, at home and in the international arena, let millions of people know that Miss Liberty still ‘lifts her lamp beside the golden door.’
“Through our international broadcasting stations -- the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the others -- let us send, loud and clear, the message that this generation of Americans intends to keep that lamp shining; that this dream, that this dream the last best hope of man on earth, this nation under God, shall not perish from the earth.
“We will instead carry on the building of an American economy that once again holds forth real opportunity for all, we shall continue to be a symbol of freedom and guardian of the eternal values that so inspired those who came to this port of entry.
“Let us pledge to each other, with this Great Lady looking on, that we can, and so help us God, we will make America great again."
Several years later, Reagan signed into law the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. The law allowed about 2.7 million people to get green cards — including people who had been in the United States since 1982 and special agricultural workers.
The Reagan speech was greatly edited and synopsized totally out of actual context, in July of 2018, for emphasis in an ad aired by a political group. “Fake news?” The group was a conservative one supporting legislation favoring immigrants.
DID YOU REALIZE? According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit enterprise that tracks gun violence in America, there have been 284 mass shootings in 2019—those in which 4 or more people were killed or injured (excluding the perpetrator).