“I want my country back.” It’s a favorite line for those of a right-wing persuasion. It’s catchy, sums up the frustrations of some, but it’s unattainable for a number of excellent reasons.
To start with, it pre-supposes that the country was ‘yours’ to start with. Reality is that it never was. It may mean, “I want my country to be back under the control of people like me.” You might have thought it was, but it wasn’t because, face it, you lost control of it. The majority of the people didn’t like it that way.
Part of the genius of this country is the fact that it never stands still and always reflects a consensus of the desires of the majority, rather than a self-interested minority.
Democracy is an impatient form of government and the status quo, or elected politicians, never suit the majority for long; ask Barack Obama. Congress, with an approval rating below that of used car salesmen is the most glittering example.
It’s interesting that the people who want their country back never define what they mean by this. Exactly what is it they want back? Even the Tea Party, which really wants its country back, cannot define what they want with any specificity. This results in splintering into thousands of Tea Party groups, each with its own program of perfection and, often as not, at odds with its fellow Tea Partiers. If somebody who wants the country back actually does define that country, the chances are excellent that a majority of the citizenry would object. With Democracy being what it is, getting your country back, whatever that means, is unlikely.
This is hardly an American phenomenon. Around the world you will find people who want their country back. In the Middle East, where yesterday has returned in some places, there are severed hands, women stoned to death, men whipped and little girls shot for going to school. Returning to life in those sweet days gone by has proven to pose a number of practical drawbacks.
Those yearning to return to life as lived in America in the ‘50s would likely find it did not sit well with many women who prefer to work at a career, who expect equal pay for equal work and make their own decisions. I would doubt any African-American wants Jim Crow back. So when you demand your country back, it’s a very good idea to define it in terms of back to what?
Demanding your country back also presupposes that the majority, which voted in the party in power, somehow has no legitimate claim to having the country closer to the way they, the majority, like it than it was. Logic says if things were in fact perfect, or close to it, nobody would want, or tolerate change that produces the conditions to which the vocal minority objects so loudly.
What these folks really want is rule by “Me-the People,” not “We the People.”
Sorry, in a democracy, like the United States of America, that is not the way it works.