like before fox news


Make America Great Again
Words by Gary Moore, annotations by David Parker

Make America great again[1]
Make America great again[2]
Lift the torch of freedom[3] all across the land[4]
Step into the future joining hand in hand
And make America great again[5]
Yes make America great again[6]

Americans from ev’ry corner of this blessed land[7]
Come together[8] with one voice[9]
Help us take a stand[10]
Following the vision to make her proud and grand[11]
And make America great again[12]
Make America great again[13]

Like the mighty eagle that is rising on the wind
Soaring t’ward our destiny[14]
Hearts and voices blend[15]
With a mighty melody oh let the song begin[16]
And make America great again[17]
Make America great again[18]

Each and every state[19]
Make America great again[20]
Make America great again[21]


[1] Great like it was in 1788, when the United States ratified a new constitution that allowed human slavery to continue.

[2] Great like it was in 1798, when the Federalist majority passed the Alien and Sedition acts, designed to shut down political opposition. The first to be convicted was Matthew Lyon, who had written of president John Adams’s “unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice.” (Lyon wins the déjà vu prize.)

[3] “Torch of freedom” does not apply to certain groups, including (but not limited to) Muslims, transgender citizens, black or brown people, and women.

[4] Has anyone done a study of the use of the word “land” in patriotic/nationalist rhetoric? (Remembering, of course, the “subversive verses” in Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”)

[5] Great like it was in the late 1830s, when, despite a victory in the Supreme Court (which President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce), some 17,000 members of the Cherokee Nation were removed from their homeland. About one quarter died on the forced march west on the Trail of Tears.

[6] Great like it was in 1846, when the United States declared war on Mexico in order to acquire California and other western territory.  As a result of the war, the United States increased its size by a third; Mexico, on the other hand, lost half of its land.

[7] Ironically, Trump lost 2.75 of the four corners of the contiguous United States: California and Washington went Democratic, and Maine’s vote was split, with Trump getting one of four electoral votes. Trump won only Florida.

[8] No doubt a reference to the Beatles song of that name, specifically the last line of the first verse: “Got to be a joker, he just do what he please.”

[9] Fox News.

[10] Reminiscent of I’ll Take My Stand (1930), a book of essays by twelve conservative southern intellectuals who wanted to make the South great again.

[11] “Make her proud and grand” is one of those patriotic sort of phrases that really don’t mean much—“sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

[12] Great like it was in the 1890s, when over 1200 African American men were lynched.

[13] Great like it was in 1956, when Georgia’s General Assembly voted to make the Confederate battle flag a prominent part of the state’s flag as a way to protest the Supreme Court’s Brown decision.

[14] Like “proud and grand” on steroids. And “t’ward”? Why not “toward”? What’s the difference? The composer should have his poetic license revoked.

[15] “Hearts and voices” is not an uncommon phrase in Protestant hymnody; see, for example, “Come, your hearts and voices raising, / Christ the Lord with gladness praising,” by Paul Gerhardt (1607-76).

[16] Probably a reference to Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” (from Leaves of Grass [1867]): “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear….”  On second thought, probably not.

[17] Great like it was before 1962, when Michael Harrington’s The Other America made us aware of the nation’s invisible “culture of poverty.”

[18] Great like it was before Roe v. Wade, Loving v. Virginia, and Obergefell v. Hodges.

[19] Except the 44 states that have refused to go along with the president’s crazy attempt to prove that he would have won the popular vote if it had not been for all that voter fraud.

[20] Great like in the Gilded Age, when American businesses were allowed to grow without oversight or regulation and the word “plutocracy” came into common usage. After a long decline in the 20th century, the word is making a comeback.

[21]  Just when was this “great” golden age in American history, and what made it “great”?

Image: The feature image is screen shot from the Celebrate Freedom Rally at the Kennedy Center.
David Parker

David Parker

David B. Parker, a native of North Carolina, is Professor of History at Kennesaw State University. He has written on humorist Bill Arp, evangelist Sam Jones, novelist Marian McCamy Sims, and other southern topics.