Unprecedented Exceptionalism

We live in unprecedented times but we are not living in an unprecedented country. Not in the year 2020 at least. Thank God for that.

Weeks ago, Cspan covered the Republican Convention and then took some phone calls afterward, as they usually do, to get a sense of what people thought. That is when strange things started happening, which they since have adjusted for.

The normal process was always Democrat, Republican and other lines. But so many Democrats and independents said they were now supporting Trump or Republicans. Whoops, can’t have that.

Some claimed to be life-long Democrats fed up with everything going on and what they were seeing across the country, from Seattle to NY. Well, after a few days of that, Cspan changed it to support Biden, support Trump or unsure. That way Cspan screeners knew who was supporting whom. But the back-story was still the same, many Dems switched to Trump. I even know a few close friends that were Democrats that support Trump.

In one of those call-in sessions Cspan also posed the question: “what does MAGA mean to you?” They were challenging people as sort of a stump question to redirect critique to confront Trump’s moto. A usual tactic of the media trying to throw off support.

The answer is pretty simple to me. America is an exceptional country and, even though we had many faults throughout history, we are still exceptional in the world. There is nothing wrong with having national pride in that premise. Look where we came from.

But why is it we are supposed to start from a position that we were a flawed nation from birth and that we are still plagued with the same inherent flaws we had (culturally and politically) since then? Why is it that we have to deny we are an exceptional country?

And we sure do have a lot to be proud of that we could list to exhaustion while even missing a few things. What is so wrong with national pride? Why is that a bad thing? Why is the opposite the goal – not to be proud of her?

So many people cannot understand what the Left is postulating over the rest of the country. It amounts to a self-loathing hatred of America. We can aspire to that?

So even if we tried, we cannot fix and correct the country to be great unless we admit we are a failure, both structurally and systemically flawed, especially with racism.

Over the years I have watched politics, I have never seen that as a mainstream popular idea. Sure it was bandied around back channels by the disgruntled and academic radicals. But not at the fore of popular thought. And it was covered up by some on the Left and denied as such. We were lying and making things up if we called them out. Just like we were making things up by calling Democrats socialists or Marxists. They claimed those were old dead ideas even the Left was not interested in. “Get with the times, man.”

All they cared about, they claimed, was protecting women’s uteri and preserving choice and liberty for everyone, and standing up for individual happiness. That was the claim anyway. And it worked. Many on the right accepted and believed it, including the idea of how Democrats wanted to work with others. It seemed there was a third road most people wanted and would agree with, if it were only shown to people. And they were the nobles who would lead us all down that euphoric path. But that was then and all a lie.

The price for their pipe dreams was America’s exceptionalism. If we could just give up that [false] premise, everything else could be hunky-dory. That was the cost to make room for all the new-fangled talk and modern ideas. That would open the golden doors.

When in reality, what opened the golden doors to America was believing we were an exceptional country. We worked through the shortcomings — not used them to tear the country down.

No one knows this any better than the immigrants who came here from other countries believing this was the best place to go. Take away that exceptionalism and there is no great hope left in the world. Where else could you go?

We are no longer an unprecedented country now. Look at what we have done and accomplished. We created a popular precedent. But we are now in unprecedented times. The question is which wins out?

Right Ring | Bullright | © 2020

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