A friend sent me a video this morning of Dennis Prager, who was on a panel discussion at the University of Denver, previous to the 2010 election. In the eight minute video clip he goes over a few key points, the main thrust of his talk is that we Americans can not articulate what it is to be an American and exactly what American exceptional-ism is. He suggests that we have forgotten or have never known.
He remembers president Obama's comment on American exceptional-ism, which was: He (the president) believes in American exceptional-ism just like the Brits believe in British exceptional-ism and any other country believes in their exceptional-ism, this may not be an exact quote but you understand the presidents philosophy on the issue. In my opinion this is a totally unacceptable interpretation for an American president or for any American politician or any American citizen for that matter and points directly at the heart of the problem, this is devolution not evolution.
This is a core problem, when your president explains that his fundamental assessment of America, based on his training, studies, conclusions and philosophies of the American experiment in governance is that it is just like any other country that has ever existed you know you are in big trouble.
I have been thinking about American exceptional-ism for the past two years due a Marine friend of mine who commented that "he did not see what was exceptional about America and the whole concept pissed him off". At the time I did not have a comprehensive answer
for him, I had heard the term for years but never really spent time to figure out what it really meant, but I knew I would in time. I thought that when he heard the term he interpreted it in the context that the individual American people were individually special, in an arrogant, egotistical way. But that is not what American exceptional-ism refers to,
American exceptional-ism simply refers to the uniqueness of the American Constitution and its recognition of the individual over the collective and the abuse of power. While simple enough to write those words, when you think about how radical a concept it is that the founders dared introduce it into reality seeing that for the whole history of man on this planet that it was pure power of one man over another man and the abuse of that power that was the rule.
The American Constitution distinguishes America from all other forms of governance that have ever existed because it is the counter balance to the nature of man.
What is the nature of man? The nature of man is to abuse power, and THAT is what American exceptional-ism is about as it relates to governance, not about ego, but the fact that we as a country are unique for those reasons throughout history and that needs to be recognized, cherished and preserved.
That is what we as the American people must do, we must rise to the occasion and preserve it.
It is our responsibility!
I have tagged this essay below with the Youtube designation of the Prager speech.