An Exceptional Nation
The other day, President Obama tried to make a case for the US involvement in Syria’s civil war by saying it was our duty as an exceptional nation to protect the children. Putting aside the fact that he has no specific plan for such involvement, and that he has said that we are no more exceptional than say Germany, Austria or Greece, there is something very important that he is overlooking. We have countless children right here in America who are at risk, and he has yet to seriously and effectively address that fact. These children desperately need families and role models, not wasteful government programs and indoctrination into lifelong dependency. Being an exceptional nation require exceptional people and exceptional leadership. One of those is being eroded, and the other is sadly lacking.
It was at least ninety degrees in the small church. A couple of ceiling fans provided little more than moral support and you could hear the constant rustle of people fanning themselves with church bulletins. Townspeople and visitors fidgeted and smiled ruefully at each other as they realized that their clothing was sticking to the varnished pews. As the mass ended, we were all eager to get outside and enjoy the cool breeze blowing off the lake in this beautiful little Midwestern village. But nearly everyone, locals and tourists alike, remained standing there together enthusiastically singing every stanza of the closing song, “America the Beautiful”. And yes, I saw some teary eyes as we turned to leave.
This quiet display of love for our country, for its special gifts and for those who gave all they had to give for it, is not unusual in small towns and communities across America. But in the closeted parlors of liberalism, those who see themselves as smarter, better…more exceptional than the rest of us ridicule such unsophisticated patriotism. They tell us that America is no longer an exceptional nation. Indeed, it has never been so, they say.
Many of these scoffers, who often make their living as literary or political hucksters, are products of increasingly inbred liberal educational institutions. They pen mean-spirited, biased opinion pieces for failing news outlets, or flog the talking point of the day to death on talk shows. They live in the Other America, where truth and justice is bought and sold, and success is measured by the content of one’s purse, and not their character. The only sweat on their brow comes from the jalapeño appetizers that accompany the gin and scotch they swill.
They sneer at the embarrassing sentimentalism of men and women who spend their lives working and building homes, families and communities. They don’t understand that these towns and communities are the bedrock of freedom where people of all races, creeds and ability can come together to create a place where all can have the opportunity to succeed. Perhaps because they have never experienced it, the elite mock those who are willing to work hard, sacrifice and to compete with each other to build a good life for themselves and a better one for their children.
The early settlers came here not for a fair share of what others had, but for the freedom and opportunity to earn their own way. They overcame the challenges of an untamed wilderness without the benefits of food stamps, housing assistance and Obama-phones. Men, women and children worked dawn to dusk to build their new life in this beautiful, but often hostile new land. They met and forged alliances with the native tribes for their mutual protection. On one occasion, while scouting the surrounding woods, the Pilgrims who survived the first winter at Plymouth found a cache of corn buried by one of the tribes. Desperate for food, they took some, because without it they would have starved. But the following year, they repaid the tribe for it, for they understood that it was wrong to take that for which others had worked…and because they knew the tribesmen would feel the same way.
Our country and its people have weathered many hardships, and faced many challenges. Against all odds, we fought for and won our independence from one of the world’s most powerful empires. We have fought world wars and fought among ourselves, yet always moving toward building upon those freedoms upon which America was founded. With hard work and by the grace of God, we grew from a few small groups of courageous settlers to become the strongest and most envied free nation on Earth.
But now we have vocal groups who have forgotten or who have never learned how and why this country came to be. We have people who come here not for the opportunity to work, but to live off the labors of others. We have a president who does not celebrate the uniqueness of America and who does not understand what our founding Fathers meant by the words “An exceptional nation”.
Yes, America is still an exceptional nation, one rich with beauty and resources. And we were once exceptional people. But through laziness, ignorance, greed, and the fanaticism of those who want to import radical ideologies that have failed in the past, and which will continue to fail, we are losing our most valuable resource…people worthy of this exceptional land. We have leaders who have no idea of how to lead, and who have not earned the right to lead. Instead, they abuse our laws, waste our money and create dissent by playing one group against another.
Dependency is replacing independence and responsibility. Competition and achievement is evil and hard work is against the rules. Morality is politically incorrect because it offends the immoral and prayer is hate speech. It is not enough to accept different beliefs and lifestyles. One must now be forced to endorse them. Not trusting us to run our own lives, the meddling architects of poverty on the left seek to control every aspect of our lives. It’s time to call their social engineering by its true name; despotism.
It would be far more useful if liberals with guilty consciences would get involved in their own communities helping working poor people and their kids instead of looking for someone else to blame, or worse, far off conflicts in hostile nations to inflame. In this country, right now, over 70% of black children in America are born to unwed mothers…mothers who are often children themselves. Generations of children are growing up without a father in the home and without the care and guidance a child needs to become a productive, responsible adult. Left unprotected and poorly-educated in an environment of dependency, drugs, violence, predation, and total disregard for life and property, neighborhood gangs often become their family and fictional movie characters their role models. And government becomes their Daddy.
When we speak of American Exceptionalism, it doesn’t mean that we think we are better than everyone else. It means that America is different than all other nations because of where we came from, who we are, and what we stand for. Our founding fathers believed that we were brought together on this continent by Providence; that God had a hand in bringing together the people who made this nation. It is faith in the idea that in this nation, people of all races and creeds can unite around a universal belief in opportunity, shared values, and our natural rights and responsibilities under God.
Our Founders knew that American exceptionalism is about human freedom and holding yourself to the highest standard of which you are capable. No other country on earth had ever tried such an experiment as this representative democracy governing the independent states according to the Constitution; the Constitution, which was openly debated and painstakingly crafted by the founders in order to protect our new country and to ensure the individual rights of all. America was indeed founded, and has endured as an exceptional nation. It’s our challenge to keep it so.