Some of page content & features are available only to members - Sign up only takes 8 seconds!

Re-thinking The Idea Of American Exceptionalism; Do You Perceive Your Own Country As Exceptional?

+3 votes
Sep 6, 2017 in Politics & Government ✌ by Virginia (7,565 points)

I was raised on American exceptionalism. The idea was that from the hardy rejects of the world all finding their way to North America, a wonderful nation was built from their stamina and courage. 

Now I am taking another look. For example, before he was elected President Obama indicated that ALL countries, just through patriotism, would naturally think their own country was exceptional, and that America was not really 'better' than other countries. However he was attacked for that global view. For example, Mike Huckabee said about Obama; “To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”

So Obama (apparently) caved; he bought into American exceptionalism, claiming for example that the Iraq War was NOT about oil, it was about America's unique role in doing the 'right thing.' Meanwhile, even (conservative) Alan Greenspan seems to have said, "Of course this war is about oil!"

(Not to pick on President Obama, but just to illustrate that BOTH political parties seem very close together now, and not in a good direction.)

SO...I am re-thinking American exceptionalism, and looking for ideas from you all, if you would not mind?  

4 Answers

Rooster Sep 6, 2017

Hard to say. I used to feel the same way about America but there have been so many blunders since the 60's that I really wonder about it now. I'll always be a proud patriot who loves his country but it seems to me that it is self destructing. I still believe that this country will be exceptional again to the world when our government actually starts doing it's job and taking care of it's people. A period of isolationism just might make us the exceptional country we once were. We are the "Can Do" nation at heart.


Virginia Rooster Sep 6, 2017

Rooster I am not giving up on this country, and I know you are not either...but I am getting worried. 

I really did think the courageous cast-offs and riffraff who came here from other countries built something very special, and Canada too of course...something like Australia built a wonderful country from all the convicts who were shipped there!

Marianne Sep 6, 2017

I am convinced that every country, state, culture or region has its own identity and its history.

There are many exceptional countries and peoples, even if certain governments, leaders or other rulers are not meeting with the interests of their populations.

But in many parts of the world, there are still decomposed, artificially composed or recomposed regions and countries dealing with ancient and more recent feuds between various different ethnics, cultures, superstitions, traditions and structures, involving former civilisations and nations. Hence, oppression, wars, violences, injustices, poverty and abuses did and still are affecting a great part of humanity, even in our most "civilised and policed" societies. And many peoples had (still have) to flee their war-stricken or devastated countries.

Present-day states:

Former states:

or, further in the past, for instance:

not to forget:



Virginia Marianne Sep 6, 2017

Marianne, I am curious; do Swiss people have a sense of the wonder and specialness of their country? Is is something that all countries have, but perhaps the USA just goes overboard and gets a bit jingoistic about it?

Marianne Marianne Sep 7, 2017

Dear Virginia, yes, of course, we have and defend our identity and independence, in spite of the scarce resources our ancestors had. The most fertile lands are situated on the "Plateau".

Our history has been very troubled, much like the rest of Europe, and from the early history, you can see that there has been a considerable "mixture":

2 links:

Lol - interesting, I noted your use of jingoism (I looked up the etymology, it is British and is to avoid calling Jesus by his name in a cause, which is not so holy, if looking at the destructive impacts and consequences of extremism - lol); as an alternative, we are using "chauvinism" (referring to Chauvin) or "extreme patriotism", but there are other terms. There's a funny side about chauvinism, as the name Chauvin was a nickname for "chauve" (bald, from "calvus", naked or bald), perhaps like Baldy ...


By the way, you will find chauvinist(ic) groups in every country or region.

TheOtherTink Sep 7, 2017

Yes, of course the US is exceptional, if for no other reasons than that we have been the world's leading economic and military power for about 100 years.

Does that mean we are morally exceptional?  Naah, but better than most, say in the top 25%  :)

katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

This article echoes some of my sentiments.  When I look around at what this country has become, and think of my Grandfathers who fought for it, it saddens me. I'm not proud of this country anymore. This is a Marxist socialist Global agenda, there can be no patriot individuals in socialism, it has to be abolished. Multiculturalism is an agenda, or regime change, and there are people behind it, gone are the days when you visited Europe (at least), for it's culture.

Virginia katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

Dear Katherine, 

Thank you; I read/listened to both of the links you posted and found them very intriguing.

TheOtherTink katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

Katherine, it is indeed sad to know that members of the Greatest Generation would have ample reason to reproach us for what we have become. :'(

"Nearly 400,000 Britons died [in WW2]. Millions more were scarred by the experience, physically and mentally. But was it worth it? Her answer - and the answer of many of her contemporaries, now in their 80s and 90s - is a resounding No."

But I still have hope that the West will yet wake up to today's challenges.

Virginia katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

Katherine, Other Tink has given you a more in-depth response to your post than I did, and I just want you to know that I second what she said.

TheOtherTink katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

Thank you, Virginia.  For all its flaws, America is still the last best hope of Earth.

Virginia katherine24 Sep 17, 2017

O'Tink, just one year ago I would have agreed with your sentiment 100% about America with all its flaws, without, idk anymore...I'm not sure anymore...

Maybe it's really Canada now, or some other country(s)? The land of the free and the home of the brave...maybe the torch has passed...?

But ima do my best, my part, to bring us mongrels, the Heinz 57...the Emma Lazarus sentiment.

Related questions

Question followers

0 users followed this question.

24 Online
0 Member And 24 Guest
Today Visits : 1682
Yesterday Visits : 5557
All Visits : 9119490