A multi part question was posed to me earlier today. In my mind it didn’t take me very long to answer it, and I felt compelled to put my thoughts on here, as I am apt to do, but I am going to take a more serious tone with this. Except for this photo.
Okay, all jokes aside, the first part of the question that was asked is
“Wasn’t the idea of this great experiment called the United States to be exceptional? Exceptionally different and awesome?”
The simple answer is yes, but simplicity and me don’t go together most days. The idea that this country was founded on, that a free people should be able to govern themselves and defend against a tyrannical government is an exceptional idea. Until we cut ties with England and established our system of governance, most societies who had overthrown a ruler, still felt that there should be some kind of supreme government in place. Not us, we chose to be different, we chose to be exceptional.
We didn’t just merely toss aside a monarch only to replace him with another, though some did try to institute a monarchy here, the founders fought back against that. They realized that people had become complicit with monarchs, and that they were so completely trained to live under the rule of a monarchy that they would actually need to be trained to live under the rule of themselves. The Constitution that was drafted and the bill of rights that was added to it are uniquely American features. No other country in the world has a constitution that is designed to limit the power of the government. No other country in the world allows for rights such as we have here. They may have something comparable, but it is not the same, and it came after America pioneered the way.
Looking through a more modern lens, we have failed the founders. Being exceptional is no longer an aspiration. More and more the country is being divided into two factions. Not Republican and Democrat, but Globalist and Nationalist. The Globalists believe that we should adhere to the international rule of law, and that America should be held accountable by the United Nations. This feeling of needing an authority over our sovereign nation is the exact reason why Woodrow Wilson did not join the League of Nations after WWI. Though he helped to set up the league, it was because Europe was so closely tied together that the decisions of one nation could very easily affect the others for good or bad. A central figure was able to help those countries recover and grow. However, an American absence in the LoN was also the leagues downfall. When entrusting the nations of Europe to regulate themselves and work together, they displayed their own motivations, and their own interests and put them ahead of all and attempted to use the LoN to their advantage. Similar to what is happening in the European Union today, thus the Brexit.
The Nationalists believe in America. America comes first and does not bow to any foreign government or world organization. They do not wish for world domination and understand that we do have a very interconnected global economy, but that does not mean that they wish to kneel to a one world order. Instead they wish to compete, to better America by using our exceptional system and way of life to be better than the rest of the world. To be the light at the end of the tunnel and not just another train coming. The nationalists do not want to force our way of life onto anybody, rather they want other nations to emulate us. While the globalists want the whole world to live under a centralized government, the nationalists would like to keep their autonomy. The influence of the nationalist is unfortunately waning. Which leads to second part of the question.
“Why is American exceptionalism offensive…?”
Because to be exceptional is to stand out from the crowd. Our society has turned from one that encourages achievement to one that despises it. Everybody gets a participation ribbon and orange slices. We are training the next generation of steeple to blindly obey and be a part of the hive. Don’t stand out, your efforts are not worth it, nor are they appreciated. Some people may feel inferior, and we have to protect their feelings. At least that is the mindset of the globalist. The nationalist on the other hand has a very different take on this.
If you aren’t as good as Jonny, then practice and strive to be as good as Jonny or better. Jonny should not have to lower himself to make Timmy feel better. Timmy needs to either get better at whatever it is, or learn to enjoy doing it poorly when compared to Jonny. The nationalist wants competition, they want to be pushed to be better. They don’t need somebody to tell them they did a great job when they know that they didn’t, but the do want to be told that they did great when they did great. They want to stand out in the crowd and encourage others to stand out as well. They are typically the first people to give credit where it is due, and the first people to take responsibility when things go wrong. They want to be the example.
It is for these reasons that the globalists will find American exceptionalism offensive. They feel inferior, and they feel that America should be just another brick in the wall of a global government. That American culture is no better than the restrictive cultures of the Islamic world. That the oppressed people of China shouldn’t be able to look at us and wonder what freedom truly tastes like. No, instead of giving them hope, the globalists feels bad for them and would rather America lower its standards so that other countries who haven’t figured it out yet don’t hate us.
This is also how you get the apology tour from Obama. When he bowed before the King of Saudi Arabia, I almost puked. It is one thing to respect another culture, it is another to show subservience to a foreign power. Bowing is a sign of subservience, and to see the person we elect as our primary diplomat and commander in chief bowing before another man lowers our standing in the world. Bush may not have been perfect, but he put America first. When meeting with foreign heads of state, he did not bow, he met them with an extended arm and open hand. He should respect for their culture by walking hand in hand with the Saudi King as equals, not as servant and master. This is what the nationalist wants. They can respect other cultures and understand that when in rome, you do as the romans do. The believe in the melting pot, not the tossed salad.
I personally do not see anything offensive about American exceptionalism. I personally will never apologize for how awesome our country is. America is unique, and has been for 240 years now and there is nothing wrong with that, if there is a country or culture that is offended by our way of life, that’s fine. Don’t participate in our way of life, but don’t be surprised when the offended culture appears to be stuck in the stone age, while we have moved on. The English learned a lesson in being exceptional. After being member son the EU for the past 20 some years, they left. They decided that they could do better for themselves, and that they could determine their future better than Germany and France. They wanted their country back before they couldn’t even recognize their culture. Here in the US, the globalists would prefer that the US lower its standards to fit the rest of the world. Nationalists, like me, challenge the rest of the world to raise their standards, it may be lonely up here at the top, but it sure beats being in the rubble at the bottom. ‘Merica!