John Andrist: America Doesn't Need To Be Made Great Again


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd in a hangar at the Richard I. Bong Airport in Superior, Wis., on Monday afternoon, April 4, 2016. Trump spoke for just under an hour and addressed his GOP opponents, foreign trade, NATO, immigration and jobs, among other topics. Bob King /

At this stage in my life I spend a lot of time alone in my new place, listening to music, watching TV, and sitting at my computer.

One of the things I’ve learned is that despite the availability of almost limitless TV channel selection and crystal clear picture quality, there is precious little worth watching on the tube.

A second thing I’ve learned, however, is there is still an occasional nugget that moves me greatly, making me think, “I’m so grateful I didn’t miss that!”

The Ken Burns Jackie Robinson documentary on PBS was one of them. The first black man to win a place on a major league baseball team, Robinson was my boyhood hero .  .  . as were the Brooklyn Dodgers, his team.

Together they made this impressionable lad immensely proud to be American. Not because they were so good, but even then I think I may have sensed that as a people we were on the cusp of a revolution in race relations that would someday make us proud.

Winning his place on a major league roster and in American hearts was not Robinson’s only achievement.

After his playing days ended he used his voice, his intellect and his energy to promote black rights and equality right up to the day of his premature death from diabetes and heart disease at the age of 53.

There is so much discontent in America these days. And yet this TV special was a good reminder to me how much we have improved the lives of so many Americans in my lifetime.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]There is so much discontent in America these days.[/mks_pullquote]

Blacks still struggle, but the battle is mostly within themselves. Opportunities for them are only limited by  their own problems, not those imposed by whites.

And there are so many high achieving blacks to light their path and potential.

So too, we are swiftly on course to eliminate discrimination against gays, and though most of us struggle more to understand trans gender, we are beginning to open the doors.

In my own new environs if we didn’t read the papers and listen to the electronic reports of crime and drug overdoses, it would be easy to be oblivious, because North Dakota kind is exemplified every place I go.

Love just oozes from a majority of Americans. If you can’t feel it, you may not be contributing your share.

One Fargo entrepreneur put it this way in a motivational speech: “Work to make your community the kind of place where you want to live.”

Sure, we are still far from paradise. If this was a perfect place nobody would need us. But we are closer than we have ever been in my lifetime.

So why so much discontent? Methinks there are just too many of us who see a half empty glass, rather than the glass that is half full.

Count your blessings, reconsider why we love America, and take another look.

Thoughts from an idle mind

  • The UND hockey team made all of us proud with their championship victory.

I wonder if anyone was proud of the drunken revelry that followed in downtown Grand Forks. Did it make those hockey players feel proud of their fans?

  • Common Core testing sounded pretty reasonable at first blush. Then folks started to look at the details and said, “Whoa!” So what was so bad about it?

Perhaps it was the silliness of expecting a one-size-fits-all federal mandate to fix a multitude of problems unique from state to state.

But the real bottom line is there is absolutely no reason to have a Department of Education in our cabinet.

A read of the constitution, even by an eighth grader, makes it eminently clear: Public education is delegated to the states.

  • Fascinating debate!

Political parties are non-profit private entities. State and federal governments have no jurisdictional  control over them, other than to set rules of behavior.

The parties have historically set their own rules, and endorsed candidates, in accordance with those rules.

Then came primaries, and states established rules for how those from their state must vote at a convention over which they have no jurisdiction.

At least in the case of Republicans, the rules say delegates may freely vote their conscience.

So which side trumps?

I report; you decide.