This Is Virginia Dare And You’re Listening To VDARE Radio.
What does it mean to say Make America Great Again? Donald Trump habitually ends his speeches with a promise to make the country “greater than ever before,” so this isn’t a purely backwards-looking idea. Still, when you say “again,” it means there was a time when America was great, a better time than the present.
Everyone has their own vision of some golden past. For the stereotypical American conservative, it’s the 1950’s, a time of postwar prosperity and peace, before the cultural disruptions of the 1960’s. For many leftists, the Kennedy years of managerial liberalism are the ideal. The edgier leftist types might wish they lived in the late 1960’s.
But for most of us, especially those of us who are younger, it was the 1980’s. At least in memory, it was a time of prosperity, a time when America recovered from Jimmy Carter’s “malaise.” There was a certain style of the time, the sharp suits, the power suspenders, the dollar chasing—the Masters of the Universe from the 1980’s still make us think of what it was to be alpha.
Politically of course, it was a great time for the Right. Ronald Reagan was president and I think for many Americans he fits what a president is supposed to be. He always took care to dress in a suit before going into the Oval Office. He was obviously in love with his country, and for that matter, his wife, unlike Bill Clinton. He always defended the country and embraced the kind of “we win, they lose” ethos that’s such a deep part of our national character. And of course, he faced down the Soviet Union.
There is also a racial connotation. The 1980’s was the last time in history when European-Americans were the most prominent part of pop culture. Action stars were mostly white. Musicians were mostly white and played either New Wave music or rock.
Indeed, many people say the 1980’s really began with the infamous “Disco Sucks” riot on July 12, 1979, when mostly white fans stormed the field after a publicity stunt in which disco records were blown up at Comiskey Park. This was actually seen, even at the time, as a kind of implicitly white cultural rebellion.
Dave Marsh at Rolling Stone wrote in “The Flip Sides of 1979” on December 27, 1979 that “White males, eighteen to thirty-four, are the most likely to see disco as the product of homosexuals, blacks and Latins, and therefore they're most likely to respond to appeals to wipe out such threats to their security.”
Maybe that’s a bit much. But to those fed up with insane political correctness, newly invented gender identities, and entertainers more interested in lecturing us about politics than performing, the 1980’s can appear like a Golden Age.
What is now called the Alt Right is a disparate grouping. As journalists and activists are learning, it’s dangerous to try to assign an identity to it, or say definitively what is in or out of it. But I can’t help but notice how deeply the 80’s aesthetic is part of it. There’s a reason music like Synthwave and New Retro Wave is now associated with the Alt Right. It’s something that appeals to what is now seen as a better time and is also radically different to the endless hip hop variations on the radio, with the same autotuned prolefeed and endless parade of rappers constantly screaming their own name over and over again, along with various obscenities.
And of course, who is more representative of the 1980’s, at its best and at its worst, than Donald J Trump? What is more quintessentially 80’s than Trump Tower? He represents the “flaunt it if you got it” attitude of those years, an unapologetic pursuit of power, wealth and status. It could not be more different than the attitude of our current elites, who cloak their pursuit of power and status in the language of egalitarianism and constantly pose as victims.
We all know what Trump is and what motivates him. No question, his frankness regarding his desire for wealth and importance is off-putting to many people. Especially WASPs, as Peter Brimelow, editor of VDARE.com might point out. Nonetheless, he says he wants to take that same win-at-all-costs spirit and apply it to the country. And for Americans tired of seeing their country purposefully degraded by its own rulers, it’s an attractive image.
Why not pursue greatness? Why not pursue power? Why not Make America Great Again? And of course, Make America 80s Again?
This was Virginia Dare, and I’ll talk to you again soon.