On the question of “Taking America Back”

Those who use the phrase “take America back” are generally talking about going back to some apocryphal simpler days of yore.  Lewis Lapham had a great response to that notion in the May issue of Harper’s:

The thought comes to mind when I hear one of the season’s political candidates offer to “take America back.” Back where? From whom? What means of conveyance? Aboard the Mayflower, or at the point of a gun? If back home on the range, do the deer and the antelope still play with the Teton Sioux? If from the grasp of venal politicians and vampire capitalists, does Ralph Waldo Emerson go to Washington and Commodore Vanderbilt to prison?

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