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.”
Labels: American Exceptionalism