When I write the term…. “American Exceptionalism” on any computer or writing program there seems to be a very visible red squiggly line underneath the word Exceptionalism (seriously, try it). In a world of a million ‘isms, why is this not one of them? Why is this term not even recognized ?
So I went to the Wikipedia page to find out the “definition” of the word. The information on this page was stunning. Most of the page was spent refuting anything worth a damn. It argued against American Exceptionalism, taking every chance possible to marginalize and debunk this belief in America. It was stunning … literally.
Think about it … is there anything we are excessively proud of in this country anymore? Is there a person or a group of people you can point to and say … “Now THAT is America!”? (keep military out of this, for now). There is nothing unsullied about the American Way. You are hard-pressed to see any movie, show or kids’ show having moral cohesion with values you were brought up with and try to live by. The heroes are more often than not anti-heroes — bad people begrudgingly forced to do good — and at the end of the movie, there is nothing redeeming about all they have done and the good done is relegated to necessity.
In order to find people and ideals to look up to, setting an ideal for American Exceptionalism, we have to first be able to find and identify what American Exceptionalism really is and from what it came. On a personal level, there are not many Americans who we can look to and say “Now THAT is America!” Or there are ideals and values solid enough, we can point to and say “Now THAT is America!”
I have never questioned the etymological background of this word. Never looked it up or had to do a report on it or had to speak about it for it to be true to me. It is real. I know it because it is in my heart and soul and in everything I do. This is why I was alarmed when I read the definition out there in the public view … I feel something should be done.
I propose the American Exceptionalism Project. This is a concept that would get us to define OUR America and to see this country for the greatness that is the American Experiment (can man rule himself?). Defining who and what is American Exceptionalism now and in the past is almost as important as knowing the American Exceptionalism to strive for in the future.
American Exceptionalism is not a fad or merely a concept relegated to the dictionary. It is a remedy for a culture seeming to have lost its esteem, pride, dignity, self respect and is in the deep throws of an identity crisis on the world stage. If we do not define ourselves, the world will do it for us and I don’t think the definition will be one that we would agree with.
Let’s look to define what it is and actually try to live up to what we see America to be.
American Exceptionalism is not just a concept….. it’s a way of life.
……………..more to come………………………………