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Is America Exceptional?

We’re the shining city on the hill and the last best hope of Earth. Or are we?

Is America responsible for leading the Earth’s way to worldwide liberty and democracy? Or are we following a path of decline already well-traveled by nations older and wiser than we?   

How you answer those questions probably says a lot about your political beliefs.

Alexis de Tocqueville first called America “exceptional” in its pursuit of commercialism and practical matters versus “science, literature, and the arts” in 1831’s Democracy in America. Jay Lovestone, the Communist leader from the late 1920s, noted America’s resistance to Communist revolution because of our strong capitalist mindset and natural resources, which Joseph Stalin refuted as “the heresy of American exceptionalism” ̶ ironically, the first time the phrase was used.

Although the idea that America is unique among nations in its global responsibilities has been embraced by both sides of the aisle, President Barack Obama observed that while Americans believe they are exceptional, so did other once-dominant nations such as Britain and Greece; thus, the delicate unwinding of a nation’s hubris begun by its leader.

He isn’t totally wrong: America has a history of expansionism and hypocrisy to contend with, and it isn’t pretty. In the Philppines at the turn of the century, in World War II, in Vietnam, in Nicaragua, in Iraq and Afghanistan, American forces have killed civilians, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not. And we are neither better nor the more popular for it.

Once upon a time on the campaign trail, President Obama promised that hostility against America would ease on his first day in office. He set out on a worldwide near-apology tour where he promised enraptured crowds that, if elected, his administration would treat the world with more respect ̶provided they respected us in return.

Yet just this past week the world watched as a strong wave of anti-American sentiment spread quickly across the Middle East as well as Australia, Africa and Europe, resulting in the death of our Libyan ambassador and staff. Rumors persist that the Libyan government warned the administration about the attack in advance, although U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stated that the protests resulted from an Internet video that disparaged the Islamic prophet Mohammed, apparently made by an American.

Unfortunately, it seems that our policy of appeasement has resulted in little more than violence and threats. It’s also resulted in visible frustration on the part of our closest Middle Eastern ally and friend in democracy, Israel. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested a meeting with Obama to discuss the worsening situation in Iran, which apparently is attempting to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in nuclear weaponry.

Obama denied the request. Who is on the calendar instead? None other than Muslim Brotherhood leader and newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, who supports amending Egypt’s Constitution so it more closely resembles the Koran and Sharia law.

Of course, Obama has plenty of time to make an appearance on David Letterman and attend a reelection fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyonce.

A point of fact: the Anti-Defamation League identifies the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as do many political observers. The Council on Foreign Relations referred to the Brotherhood as a stepping stone to membership in militant terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Hamas, and many dangerous terrorists are former Brotherhood members.

Although the U.S. State Department won’t classify the organization as a terrorist group, Obama won’t confirm that Egypt is a current U.S. ally, calling their relationship a “work in progress,” despite a decades-old treaty stating otherwise. And while it appears Morsi was elected fairly, foreign relations watchers can only purse their collective lips at what the Arab Spring will mean for Israel, and America.

Former Egyptian President (dictator) Hosni Mubarak at least stuck to the terms of the old peace treaty and kept a distance -- albeit a cold one -- from Israel. With the new leadership in place, and a potential alliance between the Brotherhood and Iran forming, one can only wonder how long that delicate peace will last.

Will our imperfect exceptionalism keep us shining on the hill? 

Big Family September 24, 2012 at 07:45 PM
While I don't believe that one man can bring down our Great Nation, I do believe that President Obama has and will continue to try and reshape America into a European type of nation. If reelected he will use the considerable power of the Presidency to further his vision of what he believes America should be, and equally disturbing reshape the Supreme Court into a left wing liberal body that will alter and disregard our constitution.
Big Family September 24, 2012 at 07:56 PM
And yes Liam, please stop. If a vote for Johnson makes you feel good another four years of an Obama Presidency will make that feeling go away...FAST.
Paul Alexander September 24, 2012 at 08:06 PM
You gotta wonder if we'd be even dealing with these debt issues if more people voted for Perot in '92. If you want to vote for Gary Johnson, do it. Eventually the Republican Party will get the message and stop nominating uninspiring, go-along-to-get-along candidates with marginal solutions.
Lori N September 24, 2012 at 08:19 PM
You can also see the movie in its entirety here.... http://www.divshare.com/download/19625287-c16
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
People do keep telling me that if I vote for Johnson, that I'm throwing away my vote. It's better than supporting Romney or Obama, and throwing away my country.
Paul Alexander September 24, 2012 at 08:34 PM
What I find amusing is Conservative/Republican leaning voters in CT saying that a vote for Gary Johnson is a wasted vote when Connecticut will break HARD for Obama no matter who else you vote for. A Gary Johnson vote in a toss-up state might be a waste, but not in CT.
Big Family September 24, 2012 at 08:38 PM
You have a valid point Paul but it can't happen this time, the stakes are to high. I was not a fan of Bill Clinton and I'm not a fan of Hillary but they didn't scare me, President Obama scares the hell out of me. We should wait for a better time to send that message.
Big Family September 24, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Liam, I get your point but I guess it comes down to who will throw away the most of our country. Real change will come, it has to come. Romney is a needed change for now.
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Instead of giving Ron Paul's and Gary Johnson's supporters grief for not supporting this Obama clone (Romney)... Why don't you switch that focus over to the GOP for getting you to believe he's worthwhile, in the first place. NO ONE is happy with Romney as the conservative candidate. The way he's treating his nomination, is almost as though he could care less. He was placed in there as a shill candidate, to keep all other contenders out of the running, and now that he's gotten the GOP's endorsement, it's time to sit back and allow Obama to take another term, like it was planned. He could NEVER beat Obama, even WITH the support of Ron Paul's or Gary Johnson's people. He's a lousy candidate. Lousy. He's the guy who lost to the LAST GUY, who lost to Obama. He was a loser then... And you think he's suddenly worth backing NOW? Look at it this way... He's the guy that McCain ignored, in favor of PALIN!!!! ... 0.o
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM
And don't go saying that Ron Paul lost in 2008 too, and that my point isn't valid... Dr. Paul's never been taken seriously or given even the remotest possible chance to succeed by the republican party. If Romney, McCain, Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, etc, ALL died this very day... Another conservative face would pop up, that the GOP would thrust against Obama. What a lot of people don't realize, mainly only because they never saw it on major news broadcasting stations, is that Ron Paul DID win! He DID have more delegates than Romney, but the GOP either discounted them, removed them through new rules that made them ineligible, or their attorneys had ENTIRE STATES removed from contention due to fraud, as well as not only changing party rules on the convention floor to overthrow legally registered delegates, but also by intentionally scripting and cheating with everything at the convention, regardless of who saw them do it on live television. Why else do you think the GOP went through all the trouble to block him or render his delegates invalid? There was simply no way Ron Paul was going to be allowed to be candidate or the republican party. HE was never going to play their game and they knew it!
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 09:05 PM
The point *I'M* making, is that the republican party clings to Romney, as though he's someone special. As though he's the best they got. As though he's America's only and best gift to the world... When he's really only their second choice, because their first choice blew it in '08. And *I* didn't vote for that warmonger either! And it's not as though they're grasping at straws, as though there's no other choices out there... You know damn well that everything that Ron Paul's been saying for YEARS, is all being repeated by each. And Every. Single. Person, out there today. They all keep slyly "borrowing" Ron Paul's philosophies as though they were the ones who came up with them in the first place. Either to get the votes of his supporters or in recognition that he was RIGHT! But the GOP decides to use Romney anyway. Why? Because HE'LL play their game. HE'S a puppet, and YOU know it to be true!
Sam Mihailoff September 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Paul, as "stinging" as your comment is...I fear you may be correct. Wish you were not
Big Family September 24, 2012 at 09:30 PM
And so with ALL that you have said Liam there will be NO CHANGE. As little change that a Romney Presidency might bring there will be change in the right direction, even you would have to agree that Romney will go in a better direction than Obama. You're right that it is sad that this is what we are left with but any change in a better direction is the right decision.
Liam Heller September 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Change for the sake of change is an abdication of leadership. It's what the democrats said when Bush was inaugurated, yet Obama's "Change" campaign went uncontested by them. ????? I'm NOT going to be a hypocrite and follow in their footsteps. I try to base my political views on what NOT be, based on the actions of those who've so ROYALLY fouled things up in the past. And Romney isn't any better than Obama... Politically speaking, that is. Here are 40 points that prove he's no better of any different... http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/40-points-that-prove-that-barack-obama-and-mitt-romney-are-exactly-the-same
Big Family September 24, 2012 at 10:51 PM
When there is no chance to lead it is better to help create change no matter how small as long as it is right. A Romney Presidency is clearly more right then reelecting Obama.
G September 25, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Yes, a Romney Presidency is clearly more "right" then reelecting Obama but it would be a disaster for the country. Romney is so out of touch with the problems that the average American faces, it gives me shivers. His "gaffes" are not really gaffes - he's speaking out on what he really believes is true! It's all about secrets and lying with Romney/Ryan. With Obama at least we know what his ideals are. Romney won't present his plans unless he's elected. He is hiding so much from the American public, and will say anything to get elected.
Paul Alexander September 25, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Read what a Canadian thinks of America’s “exceptionalism” “Canada’s front-row seat for the American disaster.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/09/22/conrad-black-canadas-front-row-seat-for-the-american-disaster/ The money shot… “Either Romney lucks through and numerate sanity starts to return to American public life, or the most self-destructively incompetent regime since James Buchanan brought on the Civil War, will come back and stoke up a truly spectacular inferno that will purify America in a mighty economic Jonestown.”
Big Family September 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
G, President Obama's "ideals" and his whispering to a Russian representative that he will have "more flexability" after this election are just part of what should scare the HELL out of everybody. Mitt Romney had nothing to do with "we have to pass this bill to find out what's in it".
Veritas vos liberabit September 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Is this criminal the author that you are touting? Black was convicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago on July 13, 2007 and sentenced to serve 6.5 years in federal prison, pay Hollinger $6.1 million, in addition to a fine of $125,000. Black was found guilty of diverting funds for personal benefit from money due Hollinger International when the company sold certain publishing assets and of other irregularities. For example, in 2000, in an arrangement that came to be known as the "Lerner Exchange," Black acquired Chicago's Lerner Newspapers and sold it to Hollinger.[45] He also was found guilty of obstruction of justice.[46] The Supreme Court of the United States heard an appeal of his case on December 8, 2009[47] and rendered a decision in June 2010. Black's application for bail was rejected by both the Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court judge who sentenced him.[48]
Paul Alexander September 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Sully, You tout yourself to be an open-minded, liberal thinker when in reality you are a close-minded bigot.
Veritas vos liberabit September 25, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Skipper, any moron can write an opinion piece, you really should stick to credible sources, and avoid the lunatic criminals.
Paul Alexander September 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
You have NO idea who Conrad Black is! Again, you're a simple, mindless, ideological bigot.
Veritas vos liberabit September 25, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Skipper, no need to get your panties in a knot and start with the childish name calling. NO idea? Do you have a problem with this information? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Black
Liam Heller September 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Well. Now that the name calling seems to be over... Please watch this segment that calls attention to our current dilemma... http://youtu.be/KONifCDWess
Liam Heller September 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM
If we continue to marginalize alternatives to the two party system, then there will never BE a chance for an alternative. To resist the status quo, means leaving open the possibility of ACTUAL change. And if we DON'T resist... If we submit... Then that hope remains at a distance. Or worse... It dies.
Daniel Patti September 26, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Liam, Have you read "Throw Them All Out" by Peter Schweizer ? Even if the book is only 25% true it still enough to make you sick. http://www.amazon.com/Throw-Them-All-Out-ebook/dp/B0062N35X8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348682103&sr=8-2&keywords=throw+them+all+out
Big Family September 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Liam, I do believe in alternatives to this two party system, some kind of change has to come. Having said that, it will not happen during this election so it is our responsibility to put in place the best administration we can. We have a clear view of what we can expect from a second term for President Obama. Mitt Romney is our only chioce in this election that has the ability to create jobs and stop the spending. Is he the second coming of President Reagan? no he is not but he will be a lot closer then President Obama could ever be. As I have stated, I'm for alternatives but this is not the time, the price of another four years of President Obama is just too high.
Liam Heller September 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM
It's all moot anyway... http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/26/obama-builds-lead-in-ohio-and-florida-poll-shows/ Any public poll that's ever been done, has NEVER shown Romney to be capable of beating Obama, if placed against him one-on-one. Not once. Yet he was chosen anyway. Time and time again, the one who WAS shown to have more of an approval rating and having the FAR higher chance of beating Obama (if placed against him one-on-one), was Dr. Ron Paul. Imagine a debate between Obama and Ron Paul???? Imagine Obama WITHOUT a teleprompter, up against a man who has statistically proven himself to know more about the Constitution, world history, financial facts, foreign policy, etc, than ANY person in MY lifetime? Obama's credibility, would be d.e.c.i.m.a.t.e.d. Yet the GOP chose the puppet. And that puppet was destined to lose, every time. Every. Time. We have to start sometime. *WE* have to start sometime. NOW, is that time, to show that your decision cannot be controlled.
Liam Heller September 26, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Dan ~ No, I haven't read it. But I've seen many, many posts that related to it, all the time. To read it right now, would like like rubbing salt in the wound. Ya' know? : )
Big Family September 26, 2012 at 06:47 PM
The problem is that Dr. Ron Paul is not in this election and I know that in CT President Obama wins, but people in other states need to understand that during this election it is not the time to express dissatisfaction with the two party system. Again, the price is just too high.

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