French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville came to America in 1831 to study a country and its people who, over the few decades prior, were able to defeat the mighty British Empire and implement a model democracy. After looking at our government, our schools, our churches and our lands, de Tocqueville said, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Certain candidates in both parties of today’s presidential race have started political revolutions that have swept the nation. They have based many of their arguments on the fact that America is broken. But is America really as bad as these candidates say it is, or are they just using political rhetoric to advance their popularity?

I personally think America is as great as it always has been. But it is certainly understandable why people would disagree. We have flaws in our system that have caused gridlock, polarization and anger. The list of things wrong with this country is simply too long to cover, but if there’s anything that this turbulent presidential election has done well, it’s shedding light on some of these core issues. However, do these issues really mean that America isn’t great? I believe these issues don’t warrant such a brash generalization and reaction, and here’s why.

One side of this election has argued for socialism and welfare as a solution to our problems. However, there’s plenty of socialist countries in the world that have far more flaws than we do. The majority of socialist or at least partially socialist countries still have many of the same problems that America has, as well as many other specific problems related to socialism itself. The other side calls for a radical revolution that involves deporting immigrants, aggressive national defense policies and, well, making America “great again.” Though the candidate preaching these ideals is running as a Republican, the revolution he is calling for is far different than the much more modest, practical and fundamental conservative movement that former President Ronald Reagan led in the early 1980s. But is America really not great anymore? By de Tocqueville’s logic, if people think that America isn’t great anymore, they therefore would likely believe that it is not even good anymore. And the “good” that de Tocqueville refers to is not necessarily the dictionary definition of good. Rather, it’s the principles that America was founded on that makes it a model of democracy and leader of the world. America is therefore still good — and still great — because America has never let go of those values. We still protect our citizens domestically and abroad. We still look out for our allies and are a major player in brokering international peace. We still grant our citizens more rights and opportunities that they would not otherwise enjoy in many countries around the world. We are still great because we have not let go of the things that have made us great in the first place.

America certainly isn’t as perfect as we would like it to be. We have a huge and diverse population that makes it virtually impossible to address every single issue and need. While I don’t question the idea that America needs to change, I reject the idea that it is no longer great. America simply is not as great as it used to be, and this can be attributed to a long list of factors. But at the end of the day, nothing has happened in this country to strip it of its fundamental greatness, and although people have every right to think otherwise, they should first take a hard look at how great we truly still are.

Kyle Campbell is a sophomore government and politics major. He can be reached at