America: Shining City upon a Hill

Amid foreign and domestic policy conundrums, President Obama recently found solace in overseas popularity polls showing America is viewed more favorably than under his predecessor. A pyrrhic victory, reflecting foreigners’ umbrage in American exceptionalism -- they’d rather we’d be one of the club, leading from behind, if at all.   But we almost can’t help it.  We gained our independence from the British along with a large dose of exceptionalism.  Indeed, in his inspirational “City upon a Hill” sermon in 1630, Puritan minister John Winthrop exhorted future Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill,” watched by the world.  A theme echoed down the centuries including most famously by Ronald Reagan in his farewell address. American exceptionalism is as embedded in our national ethos as the American Dream.  As we prepare to celebrate another high-spirited...(Read Full Post)