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June 10, 2012
American Exceptionalism: The Things Americans Don't Do Well
For the past few years, there has been an ongoing narrative put forth by our current president and his more rabid (and mindless) supporters among Progressive-Democrats that America is not an exceptional country. It's a puzzling kind of claim on their part since there are so many things that Americans do remarkably well. Many of those things make us exceptional. A few actually should be classed as unique. Even the most delusional progressive would have to admit that having one of our citizens walk on the moon definitely qualifies as a one-of-a-kind achievement.
But there is another, equally long list of things that we don't do well. In some cases, we don't do them at all. What our friends among the liberal, progressive, and Democrat fringe don't seem to understand is that these things that we don't do, or don't do well, contribute equally to American exceptionalism.
For example, we don't murder our daughters because they married men they chose themselves, instead of the man who was willing to pay Dad for the use of his little girl.
We don't use the punishment of criminals as a sort of blood sport.
We don't stone women who are merely accused of adultery.
We don't demand that everyone pay homage to the same God, or any God for that matter, on pain of death by stoning.
We don't ignore widows who are indigent and have no family to support them.
We don't assassinate female family members who have been raped.
We don't educate only the male children in our society.
We don't forbid women from driving a car, being employed, or even going to a doctor alone.
We don't call, or participate in, general strikes, demanding that everyone, whether they agree with us or not, suffer a day's lost wages because someone is miffed about something the government has done.
We don't condone racism. Does it still exist? Yes, it does, in small amounts, but it is no longer viewed as acceptable, normal behavior.
We don't censor news media, or even those who merely claim to be news media. In fact, we rarely see censorship in this country except as practiced by Liberal-Progressive-Democrats themselves.
We don't stone homosexuals to death simply because they're homosexuals.
We don't have a gulag. We have only once created a prison camp system (under FDR, for Japanese-Americans), and that event so seared America's collective conscience that it will never happen again.
We spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to insure that accused criminals are not railroaded by our judicial system, by providing each of them with an attorney.
We don't reach for our guns to resolve political differences. How many other nations can claim that they would have suffered the Bush vs. Gore aftermath of the 2000 election with no blood being spilled?
We don't allow children to go hungry. School lunch programs have been expanded to include breakfasts in many cases, and even dinner in some. Ignoring the fact that some of these children come from homes that are not in poverty, but just game the system, none are allowed to be hungry.
We don't impose by law a dress code on all citizens, nor do we require all males to grow beards.
These are just a few things that Americans don't do at all, or at least don't do well. Looking through the roster of the United Nations, it seems that these "failures" on our part make us pretty exceptional even without one of us strolling across the surface of the moon.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran, and an independent voter. Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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