Who Hijacked Our Country

Saturday, July 07, 2012

The REAL “American Exceptionalism”

When you hear the phrase “American Exceptionalism,” you probably imagine a bunch of talk radio goons firing up their inbred listeners with “America is Number One!  YEEAAHHH!!!”  Or you may picture a loudmouth chickenhawk clamoring for the U.S. to invade Iran, Syria, Venezuela or whoever the current Enemy-of-the-Week is.

Our Founding Fathers would be turning in their graves.  This article — Defining American Exceptionalism, by Joe Conason — reminds us what this over-used slogan originally meant.  For instance:

“The founders believed that America would inspire other nations as an ally and friend, rather than dominate them by force of arms or money. They did not regard their weak new republic as intrinsically superior or chosen to rule the world by God — but argued instead that the ideals of popular sovereignty and constitutional freedom represented the natural rights and the future of humanity everywhere.”

What, no Coalition of the Willing?  No Project For a New American Century?

I realize July 4th has come and gone — I didn’t see this article until yesterday — but THIS is what we should be celebrating on Independence Day.  Not the fact that we’re “superior” to all those tinpot socialist non-Christian countries out there, or the fact that we have enough weapons to kick the shit out of all of them put together.

Again (from the linked article), our founders believed that:

“…the practice of liberty, equality and democracy in these United States would kindle hope in a world downtrodden by every form of despotism, hierarchy and oppression.”

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“…the practice of liberty, equality and democracy in these United States would kindle hope in a world downtrodden by every form of despotism, hierarchy and oppression."

Obviously, the United States is no longer the country the founding fathers lived in, and spoke of. The United States has become the very thing it was supposed to be an alternative to. It now is the source of " ..every form of despotism, hierarchy and oppression..." many people around the world endure, directly and indirectly.

Obviously, it is time for significant change.

July 7, 2012 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Mr. Charleston said...

The real and actual exceptionalism of the U.S. was and is its stature as a melting pot of races and cultures which leads directly to much of the tension and discord we are experiencing today. It remains to be seen whether the stew will simmer into a delicious gumbo or whether the pot will boil over and set the house on fire.

July 8, 2012 at 4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the U.S. "stature as a melting pot of races and cultures" differ from Canadian "multi-culturism"?

In the US, many demand those coming to the US learn to speak english, and adopt "American values", to assimilate. In Canada, the country policy is to embrace the differences each bring to the country, all the while being proud to be Canadian.

July 8, 2012 at 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could make the argument that it all started with a Monroe Doctrine. Laying Claim to a Hemisphere we didn't own backed with the muscle of the UK


Erik

July 8, 2012 at 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

The Rushpubliscums practice "American exceptionalism" on weekend evenings, around a burning cross. The term has become so perverted now that there is no saving it. Kind of like the term "family values" tells you to grab your wallet, and lock your daughters up somewhere safe.

July 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

The thing that's always left me cold about the American exceptionalism meme goes back to a wise observation one of my high school teachers shared many years ago. This probably isn't the exact wording, but it's close.

Anyone who goes around telling others how exceptional he is, isn't. Exceptional people don't have time for that. What's more, they know that for that label to mean anything, it has to be pinned on by others.

I think America has inspired people around the world to seek freedom and democracy for themselves. At the same time, I shudder to think of the impression a century of racial segregation and discrimination made, among other lapses from our ideals. Those are warts the exceptionalism touters don't like to talk about.

July 9, 2012 at 2:17 AM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Someone wrote: "In the US, many demand those coming to the US learn to speak english, and adopt "American values"

Learning some English is a requirement for citizenship. In a land where precious few speak anything but English, it's also a good idea for practical reasons.

As far as adopting American values, no. I've never heard of that as a requirement. I do think some who come here need to be made aware tha we already have enough killing going on without adding the "honor killings" that are such a strong tradition in several Muslim countries. Denying females education, freedom of movement violates our laws. Going ballistic at the sight of someone walking out of a store with six-pack of beer will be problematic. So, if prospective immigrants find the legal and cultural differences involved intolerable, they'd be better off not coming here. I don't think any of those things is unreasonable.

July 9, 2012 at 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SW, perhaps you have not lived in other countries for any length of time. Believe it or not, there are huge numbers of peoples in other countries, especially those where the US has imposed its' "self" upon them, who don't think the US is so wonderful.

America was frequently the laughing stock during previous presidencies. George W certainly did not command much respect, for example.

Of course you will find immigrants who left their countries to come to the US. The Cuban Right-wingers residing in Florida, who have been using the US as a base to undermine and disrupt their former homeland, come to mind. They sure love the "freedom" and "opportunity" they have found in the US. Amongst them, the ability to tell others how to live their lives! To manipulate the political processes? Remember Watergate?

Kinda like what is happening in Syria, right now, with the US sending money and arms via the CIA to undermine the government there.

Can you imagine if China, Syria or ?? were found to be flying armed drones over the US, or to be funding, training and arming "militias" that were openly attacking US government facilities in an attempt to install a government of their own liking?

Right.

July 9, 2012 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

Anonymous, I get the impression you're very anxious to catch someone saying of America, "My country, right or wrong." The fact I responded to your comment but without obliging doesn't seem to have made any difference.

I'm aware there are people in many countries who hold a low opinion of the U.S., some for understandable, valid reasons. I'm also aware there are people who take advantage of every opportunity to run the U.S. down.

July 9, 2012 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Kinda like what is happening in Syria, right now, with the US sending money and arms via the CIA to undermine the government there.'

Imagine that undermining a government who murders it's own people.

July 9, 2012 at 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Study Black History means you see how laws which were passed to help you "assimilate" into society were then twisted around to make you a 2nd class citizen, where even European Immigrants came over with more given rights then you, then were allowed to assimilate. Leaving you on the outside.

Even today there is an underlying quest to prove that we "deserve" to be here and show the conservatives we are productive citizens. Something most other groups have not had to prove.

That's why Colin Powell is still held up as a symbol of achievement and proof of accomplishment. However one drug dealer or "Welfare Queen" could ruin it.

The Dutch don't have to point at the Roosevelt's and the Irish don't have to point at the Kennedy's or Ronald Reagan.

Like Rocks in the Ethic Stew

Erik

July 9, 2012 at 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Imagine that undermining a government who murders it's own people." You mean, like right here in the US of A?

July 9, 2012 at 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine that undermining a government who murders it's own people." You mean, like right here in the US of A?

you mean innocent people in Pakistan with drones? You might want to bring that up with your president.

and besides that wouldn't be a reason for China to undermine us being they are one of the biggest human rights violators ,you know forcing women to have late term abortions and all

July 10, 2012 at 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the "Real American Exceptionalism" is the way and extent to which America now finds ways to "except" itself from all the things it attacks others for.

Per capita, it imprisons more of its' population than ANY other country, including China, North Korea and Iran.

What does this tell us? That the people in the US feel so "exceptional" that they come to believe that the laws of the land do not apply to them?

That the laws are there for everyone, "except" those in positions of influence and power?

That "human rights" are an important topic for other countries to pay attention to, "except" the US and its' interests when things like oil and other resources are located in other peoples' countries?

How long should/could we make this list?

July 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM  

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