(Politico) The theory that Americans are better than everybody else is endorsed by an overwhelming majority of U.S. voters and approximately 100 percent of all U.S. politicians, although there is less and less evidence to support it. A recent Yahoo poll (and I resist the obvious joke here) found that 75 percent of Americans believe that the United States is “the greatest country in the world.” Does any other electorate demand such constant reassurance about how wonderful it is — and how wise?
The important message of this election is not from the voters but to the voters. Maybe it can be heard above the din. It is: You’re not so special.
The notion that America and Americans are special, among all the peoples of the earth, is sometimes called “American exceptionalism.” Because of our long history of democracy and freedom, or because we have a special mission to spread these values (or at least to remain a shining example of them), or because of our wealth, or because of our military strength, our nuclear arsenal, our wide-open spaces, our pragmatism, our idealism, or just because, the rules don’t apply to us. There are man-made rules like, “You can’t start a war without the permission of the United Nations Security Council.” We’ve gotten away with quite a bit of bending or breaking of that kind of rule. This may have given us the impression that we could ignore the other kind of rules —the ones that are imposed by reality and therefore are self-enforcing. These are rules such as, “You can’t have good ice cream without fat” or “You can’t borrow increasing amounts of money indefinitely and never pay it back, because people will eventually stop
lending it to you.” No country is special enough to escape these rules.
Obama was asked during the 2008 presidential campaign whether he believed in American exceptionalism. He said, “I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Newt Gingrich’s gloss: “In other words, everything we cherish about America, our president thinks is not so very special, not so very different from any other country. … No longer, in the left’s view, are we the Americans of the frontier, the sturdy, independent farmers.” But the question isn’t whether Americans can or should cherish our country, its culture and its values. Gingrich is saying that only Americans can do so. His message to the world is, “Hey, buddy, we’ll do the cherishing around here.” And the country he cherishes isn’t 2010 America — it’s some fantasyland populated by frontiersmen and “sturdy, independent farmers.” Scarborough is right about him, too. Why do we pay any attention?
…This conceit that we’re the greatest country ever may be self-immolating. If people believe it’s true, they won’t do what’s necessary to make it true. The Brits, who suffer no such delusion (and who, in fact, cherish the national myth of being people who smile through adversity), have just accepted cuts in government spending that no American politician — even a tea bagger — would dream of proposing. Maybe these cuts are a mistake or badly timed, but when the British voted for “change,” they really got it.
Imam Obama shares this disbelief in American exceptionalism. He and his fellow liberals and Marxists loathe all that is great about this country. They are ashamed of it.
And since when are the Brits not conceited??? The Swedes, Parisians, and Brits all believe they’re better than everyone else.
Have we fallen a bit as a country? Yes. Can we restore any greatness we’ve lost? Absolutely! And that fact is that America remains the greatest country in the world. That’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.