Where did Donald Trump come from?

Donald Trump grew up in a period when there was belief in a great America that would fight injustice and poverty and help the world. Op-ed.

Dr. Richard D. Small ,

Trump campaign
Trump campaign
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Once upon a time America was rich. But in the 1960s, several sociologists began reporting on forgotten Americans who lived in extreme poverty. Most striking were the poor in Appalachia (a coal mining area inland from the Atlantic coast). There were other regions of poverty, for example in the south especially among the blacks. Many in the nation were appalled.

Protests against such failure began to spread from the college campuses to eventually include a group of leaders, led by John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson, who were determined to eliminate poverty and create a better America. A War on Poverty was declared and efforts to end segregation, apartheid, injustice and create equal rights for all citizens were initiated. Despite some success, there is - perhaps inevitably - still injustice, and pockets of poverty.

Donald Trump grew up in the period when the young believed in a great America that was going to solve all the persistent domestic inequalities, poverty, and racism. He was young in an America that believed all nations could with the right help create a good and fulfilling life for all citizens. It is a belief of the young and the hope of the old.

It was an America that helped train foreign economists in its universities to create a fairer society while warning that at some stage of development the system would fail as governments are poor arbiters of consumption. And as it turned out, the prophecy was fulfilled.


Kennedy's plea to "Ask not what your country can do for you, rather what you can do for your country" was forgotten and replaced by "it is about me" and "I matter above anything else."

Amid the wealth and not a little hubris, the young grew disenchanted. War which many of the college students did not want to fight encouraged a lack of confidence in government decisions, corruption poisoned confidence in authority and the young disengaged from the promise of Camelot and turned inward. The characteristics of self-reliance, unlimited opportunity to make a good life and the movement to a just and compassionate society were lost. Instead, Kennedy's plea to "Ask not what your country can do for you, rather what you can do for your country" was forgotten and replaced by "it is about me" and "I matter above anything else."

But not completely. Donald Trump campaigned and governed on return to the period of his youth. When America was the shining light to the world. When America would eliminate inequality, when America would fight poverty and when America would provide a good and continually better life for its citizens. "Make America Great Again."

I believe all the above is true, yet must recognize that unfortunately it was not universally accepted or internalized. Perhaps memory of past glories is lost, perhaps confidence that the future can be better is lost, perhaps America has lost its cohesiveness and ability to function as a nation rather than a collection of tribes.

There has always been immigration to America (in part because a continent had to be settled) and every immigrant once wanted to be an American; not an African American, Asian American, Hispanic American...but an American despite place of birth. Jews were no different. Today's tribalism weakens the American dream.

Donald Trump, coming of age in a time of belief and pride in America, and sincerely believing that America can be great again, becomes President of the United States. Much of the American people believe that with him. And he does much in four years to make it a reality, demestically and internationally, although there is, of course, much more to be done.

I wish someone could explain to me why the media and Democrats did not believe in this message and did not work with him to make it a reality.

Dr. Richard D. Small made aliya in 1971 and lives in Metula, the most northernmost town in Israel. Born in New Jersey, his PhD from Rutgers U. is in Aerospace Engineering. He taught at the Technion and UCLA before joining a California Think Tank as Director for Thermal Sciences, was founder and President of Eastwind Research Corporation and was featured on 60 Minutes.His first novel, Elisheva's Diary, was published in the USA in 2017.



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