One of the most infuriating political ideas of late is American Exceptionalism.
Are there things about which the US should be proud? Absolutely.
The US should be genuinely proud of the people who have found respite and relief here from political oppression. We certainly should be proud of the ability and willingness of Americans to send aid to other countries when they face disasters, regardless of our political attitude toward them. We should feel fortunate that we can travel from city to city and state to state at will. We should treasure the wealth of natural beauty and resources that fall within our borders.
But none of that makes us better than anyone else. We are NOT exceptional. We are blessed. We are fortunate. We continue to struggle and wrestle with ourselves to do what is morally right and just. It takes an insulting level of arrogance to declare ourselves the “best” or to portray ourselves as a “model”.
We have as many weaknesses and flaws as we do strengths. To sit back on our laurels and bask in a false sense of Exceptionalism is an insult to all of those who have come before us.
There are so many things we as a country can do better and that other countries do far better. We stubbornly refuse to take care of our most vulnerable. We continue to pursue convenience at all costs. We act rashly, and then regret the consequences. We push, push, push without allowing for natural cycles to balance us. We intervene when observation would suffice. We act for political gain instead out of moral duty. We have become the frat boy douche bags of the world.
I love the US and feel fortunate to have been born here and to live here. But, we could be so much more if we would only recognize the reality of who we are and open ourselves to the possibilities of what we can be.