Was America ever really great?
via AP

Was America ever really great?

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A Staten Island Home Depot employee received death threats after someone posted a photo of her on social media wearing a hat that said "America Was Never Great." Many argue the Trump slogan "Make America Great Again" whitewashes the nation's past hostility toward people of color, women and the LGBT community. But others say nostalgia for America's past greatness and the drive to reclaim it are patriotic and deserve respect. Was America ever really great?

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The United States has done great things in its history. It’s also done some horrible things. Watch below:

Like many of his supporters, Trump says America was truly great during the huge military and industrial expansion post-World War II. 

[Trump] pointed to the "late '40s and '50s," a time when, he said, "we were not pushed around, we were respected by everybody, we had just won a war, we were pretty much doing what we had to do."

Trump critics think his MAGA slogan is based on a false premise. It's not hating on America to point out that the American dream has fallen seriously short or even been a nightmare for many people. Would you want to be black or female or gay or disabled in the 1950s?

America, historically speaking, was not great—in fact, was very bad...Trump’s slogan doesn’t really evoke America’s past greatness but its past whiteness.

But if and when America was great depends a lot on your generational perspective. In 2016, 38 percent of Baby Boomers said America’s best years are over, and only 41 percent thought things would get better. 

Republicans, overall, recall the late 1950s and the mid-1980s most fondly. Sample explanations: “Reagan.” “Economy was booming.” “No wars!” “Life was simpler.” “Strong family values.”

Some Americans have a great deal of nostalgia for what they see as a simpler time.

"The Daily Show" asked RNC attendees when they thought America was truly great. Their answers ranged from 1913, to the 1940s and 50s, to the moment of America's founding. (No Native Americans were available to respond to this informal poll.)

Many Americans don't idealize a past in which they were disenfranchised or enslaved.

Others say America was great when unions were strong, working people could afford to go to college and buy homes, and the wealthiest Americans paid their fair share of taxes.

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