American Exceptionalism

Obama “wasn’t raised to love America?” By his grandfather, who was a US soldier in the European theater, and his grandmother, who was pretty much “Rosie The Riveter”?

The link below is to a long, well-informed OpEd by American veteran Jim Wright. He spent a week taking apart Rudy Giuliani’s thoughts about Obama, and reading the Oklahoma AP History curriculum guide. Which the OK state legislature wants to ban because it isn’t supportive of “American Exceptionalism”.

The concept of American Exceptionalism is part of the whole “Christian Nation” thing, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how. We can treat the poor like garbage, but somehow we’re an Exception to the many calls in the bible to defend the poor. We’re an Exception to racism and sexism and prejudice of all kinds. It’s right in our ad copy.

We’re an Exception to history, which has many examples of empires rising and falling. That won’t happen to US. We’re an Exception to economics, which has way too many examples of the super-rich drawing most of society’s wealth unto themselves, only to end up on the wrong end of violent revolution. That won’t happen to us, either.

Hell, we’re even an Exception to the laws of physics. That’s right! We can keep pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmo, and not suffer the effects of global warming, because we’re God’s special little snowflake or something.

(Before anyone brings up cold weather in parts of North America, better check on temps around the rest of the globe. I’m just lookin’ out for you here.)

Thinking that You Are Exceptional is a pretty reliable path off a cliff. You know I’m not a believer, but this is one of the things in the bible that always rang completely true for me: “Pride goeth before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction.” Prov. 16:18.

Really. When you can’t look your own faults squarely in the kisser, they’re going to destroy you. That’s what AP history is for. That’s what Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” is for. To save us from self-caused destruction. No joke.

Read Wright’s essay. Share it around. You may not be glad you did. But you can lay claim to having faced the music.

Jim Wright: The Telltale Heart of History Beats For You