iOS app Android app

American Exceptionalism

Real Americans

Christopher Holshek | Posted 12.22.2014 | Politics
Christopher Holshek

One of NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcell's more oft-used quotes is: "You are what your record says you are." That doesn't just apply to sports teams. Team America's record of late has not been of the champion of the values we say define who we are and what we're about. Our record says more about our real identity more than the one we imagine.

JFK Tried to Craft a Creative Course in Another Era of American Insecurity and Fear

William Bradley | Posted 11.24.2014 | Politics
William Bradley

Just over a half-century ago, during another time of American insecurity and fear, of things both real and imagined, John F. Kennedy used his legendary but abbreviated presidency to try to chart a course to a more assured future.

Stand Tall, America, We're No. 1!

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 12.23.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

Like anything spoken of too insistently, recent rounds of exceptionalist comments surely reveal lurking feelings of doubt about this country, its state, its fate, and its direction (which, according to most polls, Americans believe to be downward, as in "wrong track" or "decline").

The Importance of Being Exceptional

David Bromwich | Posted 12.23.2014 | Politics
David Bromwich

On the whole, is American exceptionalism a force for good? The question shouldn't be hard to answer. To make an exception of yourself is as immoral a proceeding for a nation as it is for an individual. When we say of a person (usually someone who has gone off the rails), "He thinks the rules don't apply to him," we mean that he is a danger to others and perhaps to himself.

The United States of Fear: From Ebullient to Eboliant

Frank Islam | Posted 12.22.2014 | Politics
Frank Islam

We need positive and visionary 21st century leaders to remind us of that and to call upon us to rediscover our American spirit and sense of resolve.

Stop the Killing

Kathy Kelly | Posted 12.19.2014 | World
Kathy Kelly

We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism; recognize the economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq; recognize that we are a perpetually war-crazed nation; seek to make reparations; and find dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero's words be heard: Stop the killing.

The Media Covering Ebola: Fear Tactics That Play on Racial, Economic Divides

Mario Machado | Posted 12.20.2014 | Media
Mario Machado

Behind the fear mongering and scare tactics that have conflated all of today's hot news issues into some sort of dystopic conservative nightmare -- Ebola on the backs of ISIS crossing into the US through the porous Mexican border -- lie very palpable undertones of colonialist attitudes towards racism and cultural elitism.

On Being an Indispensable Nation

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 12.16.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

That word "indispensable" is often used without any indication of what exactly our indispensability consists of. Evidence from the last 13 years, however, suggests that we have been exceptionally, indispensably, undeniably, inscrutably important when it comes to destabilizing significant chunks of the planet and encouraging the growth of jihadist organizations.

Traces of Evil

Robert Koehler | Posted 11.18.2014 | Politics
Robert Koehler

Obama's speech is addressed to a nation with a dead imagination. Doing "something" about the Islamic State means dropping bombs on it. Bombing runs don't inconvenience a politician's constituents and always seem like stalwart action: a squirt of Raid on an infestation of bugs.

Power Drain

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 11.16.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

The U.S. now stood alone. Initially, Washington was stunned. After all, as one observer put it, "the end of history" had been reached -- and there, amid the rubble of other systems and powers, lay an imperial version of liberal democracy and a capitalist system freed of even the thought of global competitors and constraints. Or so it seemed.

Obama Is Epictetus

Lex Paulson | Posted 11.11.2014 | Politics
Lex Paulson

To understand what Obama understands is to recognize what lies in our power, as human beings and as nations, and what lies outside it. My advice: if you want to understand America's president, read a Roman slave.

'Exceptional American'

Marco Cáceres | Posted 10.12.2014 | Politics
Marco Cáceres

What would be exceptional is if we looked at our border crisis as a humanitarian situation, and we reflected on our responsibility for helping fuel it in the first place. If we looked at it from the broader standpoint of what is compassionate, as opposed to the more narrower one of what is legal.

Why Does Everyone Hate American Tourists?

Nora Turriago | Posted 10.01.2014 | Travel
Nora Turriago

Venture even further, and you'll quickly find that the image of the American tourist is reflective of how the world at large views Americans: self-entitled, oblivious to matters outside of the U.S., with little desire to learn of different cultures or languages.

Manifest Delusion: Debunking American Exceptionalism to Protect Human Rights

Jack Healey | Posted 09.15.2014 | Impact
Jack Healey

As a country, we have continued to lose standing throughout the world as a legitimate voice for human rights, as a responsible member of a community of nations, as an arbiter of peace, or as a party protective of the planet. We have seen our standing reduced from a beacon of freedom to a beacon of financial self-interest.

Disrupting Hillary

John Feffer | Posted 08.26.2014 | Politics
John Feffer

Seven years later, Clinton is considering another run at the presidency. Once again, she is the dominant brand in the marketplace, the one to beat.

How America Is Replaying the Cold War and Russia Is Replaying World War II

Justinian Jampol | Posted 08.23.2014 | World
Justinian Jampol

Reacting to historical periods that were enormously antagonistic and bloody to guide action on the emerging battlefield of eastern Ukraine has the potentiality for further escalating conflict, fueled by past victories and memory of old clashes.

Got Global Governance?

Christopher Holshek | Posted 08.12.2014 | World
Christopher Holshek

If you want good global governance, you have to provide good global citizenship.

Obama's D-Day Misfire Mirrors Other Problems

William Bradley | Posted 08.09.2014 | Politics
William Bradley

What we got from Obama was a tunnel visioned view of history, even with regard to the historical event itself. And he completely missed the reality that events do not occur in isolation from one another.

Article Slamming Obama on 'American Exceptionalism' Relies on Exceptionally Misleading Quotation

Ian Reifowitz | Posted 08.05.2014 | Politics
Ian Reifowitz

Just because right wingers use the words "American exceptionalism" in a jingoistic way--in a way that proclaims American superiority--doesn't mean that anyone who uses those words automatically means the same thing.

Report Card: American Exceptionalism

Chris Ernesto | Posted 07.02.2014 | Politics
Chris Ernesto

The United States thinks of itself as the greatest country in the world. Maybe even the greatest of all-time. Because of this awesomeness, it believe...

American Exceptionalism and Reality

Michael Drew | Posted 04.21.2014 | Politics
Michael Drew

Do you think we're exceptional, we Americans? You may have heard talk over the years about American exceptionalism, which is a way of considering Ame...

The Romans, Just Wars and Exceptionalism

Shadi Bartsch | Posted 04.16.2014 | Politics
Shadi Bartsch

American citizens concerned about our military policy abroad might find an interesting mirror in ancient Rome. The Romans were pretty sure they were the good guys

The State of Our Union Is Not Strong

Kevin Richberg | Posted 04.06.2014 | Politics
Kevin Richberg

Over a week ago, the President had the opportunity to be painfully and blatantly honest with his fellow Americans about the actual current state of ou...

The State of the Union Address -- Taking the Longer View

David Coates | Posted 04.01.2014 | Politics
David Coates

No politician these days gets any traction from the exploitation of bad news, unless he/she is currently out of power and, like the GOP, trying to work their way back in. Democratic presidents concerned with their legacy are not in that position; which is why all we can legitimately expect of any State of the Union Address these days is some sort of claim for progress in the immediate past, plus an equivalent case for more progress in the year to come. That, in truth, is most of what we heard from President Obama on Tuesday evening. Fine rhetoric well delivered, mildly progressive goals modestly pursued, and a strong statement of the continuing importance of American exceptionalism and American power. But just because a president cannot do a full and honest stock-taking of our overall condition, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't.

Can America Ever Regain Its Exceptionalism?

Blake Fleetwood | Posted 03.25.2014 | Politics
Blake Fleetwood

The myth of American Exceptionalism stems from the idea that the U.S. was the product of an immaculate conception -- a virgin, fertile continent bordered by two vast oceans and free of the foibles and follies of the old counties in Europe.