John Brummett has an interesting take on “American exceptionalism” is in his Arkansas News Bureau column today. He rightly points out that Republicans are using it as a wedge issue to question Democrats’ and Obama’s patriotism and also makes the point that in some ways, the country is no longer that exceptional. However, he does include this high note near the end:
“Yet we must not despair. There remains something exceptionally rare, indeed great, about America.
“It is that we could blow up the world, but we don’t. It is that we possess the muscle to conquer and make territories of these places that we, frequently in futility, invade with our young people and military resources. But we don’t. We seek to help the people of these distant lands. We let them have their oil. We may be arrogant, but we are not cruel.”
Amen to that. Here’s what I would add: I think this attitude is a major contributor to some of our most vexing issues. “You mean, we can’t cut taxes and increase spending and still balance the budget? Why not? We’re Americans!” Also, “Of course we can transform Iraq and Afghanistan into democracies at little cost.”
Time to be more realistic about our country’s situation and make some hard choices.