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What Makes A Country 'Great'?

Josh
Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
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Given the force of the MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement, I am curious to know what makes a country earn the title of 'Great'.
What categories or boxes have to be 'ticked'? What does a 'Great' nation look like? In terms of social mobility? Equality? Foreigners? Women's position in society? War/peace? Economy? Relationship to Ecology? Daily stress? Religion? Money-flow? Social cohesion? Justice (system)? Technology? Governance? De/centralisation of power? Opportunity?
Examples from history too are also welcome (eg: was Roman Italy 'Great'? Was Atlantis 'Great'?)

Josh
Joshua Bond
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Here's one take on why Britain is called Great Britain
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5Gp2u4Q3BQ

Aquaheal
Lost Thinker
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I was asked to make a copy of a response I made to this subject in another thread. Here it is.

[I also started thinking about what makes a nation great. So I started looking at quotes on the internet on the subject. Here is one that jumped out at me.

“No one has ever achieved greatness without dreams.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Perhaps, it is not a particular time or specific thing that makes Americans proud to be an American. Maybe it is just the American spirit. A spirit that would often dream big. It reminds me of a patriotic song I heard in my younger years. I think they play it at Trump rallies often.

And I’m proud to be an American,
‘Cause at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.
And I’ll proudly stand up next to you,
And defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land.
God bless the USA.
God bless the USA.

American pride may not make logical sense to other nations. I don’t think most Americans think about it much either. The average native born American is pretty poorly aware of their history and their own constitution. That also includes major political figures like their senator, their congressman, their governor and influential policy makers like Supreme Court justices. Heck, a lot of Americans don’t even know who the president of the United States is. A lot of Americans are seriously wondering if the president even knows who he is. The MAGA movement does not seem to have a set definition of what a great America is but I think they generally agree that things could, at least in theory, be better, a lot better.

I hope that sheds some light on things, at least a little bit.]

This subject also reminds me of how some rulers in antiquity have been labeled, like Catherine the Great or Alexander the Great. I know this goes a little off topic but it might help answer the question.

Aquaheal
Lost Thinker
United States
Joined 28th May 2022
Forum Posts: 19

I did some further thinking about this. Somehow the phrase “The greatest generation” popped up in my head. There is a Wikipedia article on it but I can’t post it yet. The “Greatest Generation ” also seems to be linked to the “Great Depression.” It appears the title may be associated with overcoming great odds. It is possible that maybe Great Britain got the title because to become the “British Empire” a lot of military force would have to be used. This is just speculation but may answer the question a bit. Another thing to note is that Trump did significantly beef up America’s military capability.

Josh
Joshua Bond
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Aquaheal said:I did some further thinking about this. Somehow the phrase “The greatest generation” popped up in my head. There is a Wikipedia article on it but I can’t post it yet. The “Greatest Generation ” also seems to be linked to the “Great Depression.” It appears the title may be associated with overcoming great odds. It is possible that maybe Great Britain got the title because to become the “British Empire” a lot of military force would have to be used. This is just speculation but may answer the question a bit. Another thing to note is that Trump did significantly beef up America’s military capability.

Thanks agin for your comment.
As far as I know, Britain (shortform of the Kingdom of Britain) had Great added to it when Scotland and Wales and the north part of Ireland became more unified in 1707, consolidated in 1800 as The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

What I'm interested in, in this thread, is what in the public's imagination makes a country be perceived as 'Great' - as in (for example) Make America Great Again.
Maybe it has no meaning beyond being an emotive crowd-pulling ideological catch-all strap-line that people can cohere around and applaud, without having a clue as to what it means in practical terms.
And like all ideological statements (eg 'Technology is Progress', or 'National Security') its very vagueness makes it hard to criticise - and yet as a rallying-call it does a great job.
If the word 'Great' cannot be defined in meaningful terms, then the whole MAGA thing is a political nonsense since it has no practicality in terms of concrete policies and outcomes for the general public.
The same for any other country where certain politicians point to some "glorious past" which they promise to regain (Argentinia being a new case in point)

Ahavati
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1. Equality

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ~ Declaration of Independence

2. Compassion

The Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


~ Poem on The Statue of Liberty

3. Love

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." ~ Corinthians, KJB

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." ~ Torah

“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” ~ Jesus,

4. Acceptance

"The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt"

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Being I feel the biggest threat to democracy is the rise of authoritarianism by MAGA Republicans/Christians, I am using their language with the exception of the Declaration of Independence and the Colossus written upon the Statue of Liberty. Not that it will matter to them, but so it's a matter of record for us.

To me, ALL of the above would Make America something it's never been: Great.

Aquaheal
Lost Thinker
United States
Joined 28th May 2022
Forum Posts: 19

It appears that when the word “Great” is used, it can take on two meanings. In the case of “Great Britain”, “Great” seems to imply a greater, more consolidated governance. There seems to be a great emphasis on quantity of real-estate or population being governed. I don’t think the “Great” in MAGA has the same meaning. From what I understand “Great” in MAGA is more about the quality of governance. Along with being a populist, Trump was very isolationist. Isolationism runs deep in American policy all the way back to the founding fathers. From what I can tell, Americans don’t like to be the policeman of the world. Americans don’t like to get into wars where their sons and daughters die, the debt is jacked up and the treasury is pilfered. A lot of the MAGA movement is based on old promises Trump made in 2016. Some of it he delivered on, a lot he didn’t. Before Trump, Americans were getting tired of the two party system. They still are. When people started to see what Trump was trying to do and all the flack he was taking, people on both sides of the aisle started calling themselves, not Republicans, but Trump Republicans. Both sides of Washington are pretty much greedy power hungry phonies. Some in the MAGA movement think Trump can do no wrong. I think most see his faults but are more unsure of an alternative. Americans generally seem to know that American politics is messed up. The smart Americans who know their history have a hard time pointing to a flawless politician in the past. It seems MAGA is for people who know their government is rotten but don’t really know how rotten it’s always been.

Aquaheal
Lost Thinker
United States
Joined 28th May 2022
Forum Posts: 19

Ahavati said:1. Equality

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ~ Declaration of Independence

2. Compassion

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


3. Love

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." ~ Corinthians, KJB

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." ~ Torah

“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” ~ Jesus,

4. Acceptance

"The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt"

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Being I feel the biggest threat to democracy is the rise of authoritarianism by MAGA Republicans/Christians, I am using their language with the exception of the Declaration of Independence and the Colossus written upon the Statue of Liberty. Not that it will matter to them, but so it's a matter of record for us.

To me, ALL of the above would Make America something it's never been: Great.


I haven’t seen a whole lot of Trump rallies or marches. But of the few that I have seen, every now and then if you look closely, there are people waving rainbow colored flags. What those people are doing there I have no idea. It appears that they seem to think that they fit in. Does anyone know why they would think that?

ajay
Fire of Insight
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Its women. That's why Australia will never ever  be called 'great'. 🙃

Aquaheal
Lost Thinker
United States
Joined 28th May 2022
Forum Posts: 19

ajay said:Its women. That's why Australia will never ever  be called 'great'. 🙃

I’m sorry, but my puny mind fails to understand you. Please elaborate.

Solomon_Song
Tyrant of Words
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Joined 28th Sep 2012
Forum Posts: 331

I go with Ahavati's points. I also rather warm to the words of the late German State President Johannes Rau (a devout Christian) who when asked by the press what would be his motto for his term of office, he straightway answered:

"Righteousness and justice exalt a nation."

Josh
Joshua Bond
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Joined 2nd Feb 2017
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Thank you for your contributions
Ahavati -- I especially liked Nr.2-Compassion -- have not heard that before. Is that the one on the Statute of Liberty?
Aquaheal -- "From what I can tell, Americans don’t like to be the policeman of the world. Americans don’t like to get into wars where their sons and daughters die, the debt is jacked up and the treasury is pilfered." Interesting, I can see that America's constant involvement in wars over the last 200 years has made people jaded and tired with politics - and therefore open to a radical alternative -  which has its dangers as well as its good possibilities.
Ajay -- It's why I chose Portugal over Australia 15 years ago
Solomon_Song -- That is a great quote, and to a large extent answers the question about what makes a nation 'Great'. If justice does not figure large in a nation's modus operandi, it can hardly be called 'great'. I've added the quote to my quotables file. Thank you.

Ahavati
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Josh said:Thank you for your contributions
Ahavati -- I especially liked Nr.2-Compassion -- have not heard that before. Is that the one on the Statute of Liberty?
[. . . ]


Yes; it's called The Colossus and it's the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. I credited at the bottom of my statement; however, have now edited to add it where I posted, which I should've done to begin with.

Josh
Joshua Bond
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Ahavati said:

Yes; it's called The Colossus and it's the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. I credited at the bottom of my statement; however, have now edited to add it where I posted, which I should've done to begin with.


I saw the credit at the bottom - and guessed it was that one. Of course, I could have checked it on-line and saved you the trouble of replying - doh!

Ahavati
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Aquaheal said:

I haven’t seen a whole lot of Trump rallies or marches. But of the few that I have seen, every now and then if you look closely, there are people waving rainbow colored flags. What those people are doing there I have no idea. It appears that they seem to think that they fit in. Does anyone know why they would think that?


I've been thinking about this question and doing some research, and the only answer I could find was the following:

According to a HuffPost article, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump unfurled a large rainbow flag that had the words “LGBTs for Trump” scribbled across it, shortly after walking onstage at a rally in Greeley, Colorado on Sunday night. The flag was upside down, even though the handwriting was right side up. The rainbow flag is a series of six stripes, all having very specific meaning according to the creator of the flag in 1978, Gilbert Baker. The top stripe is red, symbolizing life, and the bottommost stripe is violet, symbolizing spirit.

Trump’s flag was upside down, even though the handwriting was right side up. In other words, whoever scribbled on it didn’t have an awareness that the flag was upside down when he or she wrote on it. Trump took the flag from a supporter who happened to be conveniently placed up near the stage, making it seem as if he simply saw it in the crowd and wanted to take it on the stage. But it appeared to be folded up when handed to him, so it’s hard to believe that Trump could see exactly what it was ― unless he knew ahead of time that someone would be handing him a rainbow flag. He then unfurled it onstage, paraded it back and forth for less than a minute, and then gave it back to the person in the crowd who’d handed it to him.

It is unclear why Trump chose to wave the flag at the rally. However, it is worth noting that the flag-waving might have been staged, and that the person who wrote on it may not have even been queer and didn’t know which way the flag went.

Seeing rainbow flags at Trump rallies is particularly rare and could very well be a campaign move to appear to have supporters.

That being said, there's also this, but it dates 2020. Most of the articles I found were outdated between 1999-2022. But it does answer your question as to why.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/trump-pride-gay-republicans-why-they-re-backing-president-n1243469




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