As America Recovers From the Coronavirus, MAGYA

As this is being written, our great country has not yet opened the doors to its full-engine economy, but by the time you are reading this, America will be on the road back. Ironically, if the slogan had not been coined for the 2016 presidential election, this alone would be a time to launch a chant to "Make America Great Again." With our country having experienced such a remarkable rebound during these past three years of Trump, as we recovered as a nation from the Obama Wasted Decade, perhaps the slogan now should be "MAGYA — Make America Great Yet Again."

As Donald Trump contemplated the slogan, the clarion call was a charge to set behind us the concomitant national malaise that the Incompetent One wrought. In so little time, Obama managed to stagnate an economy that had nowhere to go but up. With so much pent-up economic demand, so many Americans bursting to regalvanize the financial engines, Obama stifled us with commerce-crippling regulations. He blocked the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines, disrupted hydraulic fracturing, and sought to kill the oil and gas industry as much as possible. Instead, he poured more than $500 million down the Solyndra drain. He fostered and fomented racial divides and deep hatreds that had receded into America's past, turning local incidents into national "teaching moments" that taught us nonsense and lies. It took the judicial system finally to expose the falsehoods of Ferguson and Michael Brown. A Black judge in Maryland exonerated one Baltimore police officer after another in the death of Freddie Gray. And George Zimmerman was innocent in Florida, even as we learned that the sweet hoodie picture that the mainstream media kept showing us of the thug he encountered had been taken years earlier and did not reflect the actual contemporaneous street-tough whose more recent photos showed him sticking his third finger towards the camera.

With Obama ruining our national culture by the kinds of people he honored, the sorts whom he welcomed into the White House, the causes he sought to advance, something painful had taken hold in America. Meanwhile, overseas we had lost the unique station we had occupied since World War II. ISIS, whom Obama belittled as a "junior varsity," grew to form a veritable expanding caliphate in Syria. Vladimir Putin took the Crimea, entered eastern Ukraine, and restored Russian primacy in parts of the Middle East. Arab terror dominated the discussion for eight Obama years abroad, even as he would not say those words: "Arab terror." Thus, when an Arab terrorist murdered our military personnel in our homeland, Obama called it "workplace violence." Along the way, he cozied up to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and the Castros in Cuba.

Obama, viewed retrospectively, was a political virus. And Trump emerged as the vaccine. While Andrew Cuomo somehow managed to say publicly that America never was all that great anyway, Trump promised to make America great again — and he did. He restored the economy, opened the energy sector full blast, ended Obama's Cuba honeymoon, reasserted America abroad, demanding that our NATO allies pay their fair share while he stomped out ISIS, took down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi like a dog as that cowardly murderer- rapist held his children as protective shields. Trump responded to an attack on our embassy in Iraq by taking down Qassem Soleimani, the murderous villain who had been conducting the international terror campaign of the Iranian ayatollahs. He freed America from the handcuffs of Obama's Iran deal that saw our country blackmailed into sending $1.7 billion in cash secretly to the ayatollahs, with $400 million in pallets of cold currency flown hastily to buy their mercy.

We forget lots of this now because the China virus of 2019 subsumed the national discussion and focus. But that is what Obama did to us and what Trump rescued us from. He made America great again. At home, unemployment dropped to record lows across the board for Blacks, for Hispanics, for women, for virtually every demographic group. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq numbers were setting new records almost every day. Abroad, he really got the Europeans to pay more towards their fair share, and he really changed the momentum throughout.

The China virus has been devastating for families hit by it physically and sometimes killed by it, and it has wreaked economic and social havoc. Even our major national sports leagues have had to sit out their seasons, while we have been compelled to remain distant from theater, concerts, restaurants, and especially from houses of worship. How frustrating it must be for a president who was preparing to run for reelection on his extraordinary record of achievement! Instead of voters contemplating celebrating the most wonderful economic period they have experienced, we instead find ourselves digging our way out of the terrible catastrophe of this once-in-a-century pandemic from a China whose wet markets repeatedly foster these global health catastrophes by purveying bats, cats, snakes, rats, and whatever food garbage they can offer in the most unsanitary of conditions.

So it will be necessary to Make American Great Yet Again — MAGYA. And America uniquely is situated to meet the challenge. To the degree that we resist and shun the siren calls to adopt socialism, a catastrophic system that has failed every single place and time it has been tried, it will be America's capitalist drive and freedom-based spirit that will make America great yet again. With freedom, people gain the safety to think outside the box. With capitalism, people enjoy the best of incentives to take risks when new opportunities present. In such an environment, assisted mightily by Trump having unshackled so much of the economy and having deregulated so much of business, new products will emerge. New markets will be created. New methods and services will appear. Pent-up demand will be addressed and satisfied. Just as many of us previously could not have contemplated the computer, the internet, search engines, online commerce, and so much else that today is the norm in business and life, so it will be that we will rebound again if we keep the socialists and government do-gooders at bay.

As uniquely challenging as this China virus has been, America has faced pandemics before. In the late eighteenth century, the Yellow Fever virus struck us, wiping out some 10 percent of the city of Philadelphia in 1793. Because people at that time did not initially link the disease to mosquitoes, and the very notion of "virus" was not yet known, many thought it was caused by something abstract in Philadelphia's air. People were turning yellow, vomiting blood in the streets, and dropping dead instantly. As a result, wooden wagons arriving from Philadelphia into other cities were set on fire as a precaution. InPhiladelphia itself, people sought to "purify the air" by lighting outdoor fires throughout the city every night, shooting rifles into the sky, and smoking tobacco. Even kids and women started smoking cigars. Half the city's population, including George Washington, literally fled elsewhere, and that pandemic even contributed in some small measure towards the decision to move the new nation's capital closer to the great open-air plantation estates — Washington's Mount Vernon, Jefferson's Monticello, Madison's Montpelier, and Monroe's Highland — owned by the First Families of Virginia who would lead the country through our first half century. By the 1800s America was back on the move.

About a century later, we actually lost more of our population (675,000) to the 1918 misnamed "Spanish Flu" than we did to the concurrent World War I (53,402 in combat and another 63,114 from disease that also included more Spanish Flu victims). Fifty million people died worldwide during that pandemic, and even President Wilson contracted the disease. Yet, soon enough, we rebounded and almost overnight entered a period that we now remember as the "Roaring Twenties," as Prohibition ended, entertainment and celebrating resumed, and the economy zoomed. America's wealth doubled, Babe Ruth emerged to redefine baseball, and commercial radio stations appeared for the first time, expanded into the hundreds, and were reaching more than twelve million American households within the decade. Talking pictures — movies — emerged to change American culture. Henry Ford's "Model T" hit the roads. In other words, America came back from the 1918 pandemic with a rapid sonic boom.

It is a shame that, with America truly ablaze in full recovery mode from the political virus of Obamism, so much came to a sudden halt, with COVID-19 replacing the Democrat House as the major cause of disrupting our lives and battering our economy and public policy. But our history teaches that, as long as we remain committed to preserving a society built on freedom and an economy structured on free enterprise with minimal government interference, we truly can be on the cusp of MAGYA — Making America Great Yet Again.

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About the Author

Rabbi Dov Fischer, an attorney, adjunct professor of law, and contributing editor of The American Spectator, is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, congregational rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California, and holds prominent leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations. He has been Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and served for most of the past decade on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. His writings have appeared in the American Spectator, National Review, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, and Israel National News.