To what degree is America an exceptional nation? To answer that we must ask ourselves, to what degree has America forgotten itself and those who made it exceptional? Virtually purged from American history books is any serious discussion of uniquely American ideals, of radical early-American Christian Unitarianism, of the revolutionary Declaration, the first American confederacy, or the counter-revolutionary nature of the Constitution. Missing from those pages and the national consciousness are any in-depth knowledge of the ideas of Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, Andrew Jackson, Nat Turner, or John Brown, exceptional men all, who made exceptional decisions, exceptional contributions and exceptional sacrifices. As well absent are Robert Ingersoll, Mark Twain, Lewis Sinclair, Garet Garett, Emma Goldman, Stephen Vincent Benét, Will Rogers, Rose Wilder Lane, Dorothy Day and H.L. Mencken, exceptional men and women who chronicled the American experience in an exceptionally American way. We have forgotten Main Street and American Names, both Common Sense and Roger’s common sense. We have, in large, turned our backs on what made us exceptional in order to make ourselves like every other place else on the planet, most especially to make ourselves like the place our ancestors were escaping from: Europe. Mr. Putin is correct, we are no longer exceptional, because we chose not to be. We chose to forgo exception, to forsake radicalism, and to instead embrace dogma and sameness. And for that we are the poorer.
Tags: American Culture, American history, culture, Exceptionalism, Putin, Snowden
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