John Brummett engages a topic this morning that’s been on my mind a bit since rising Congressman Tim Griffin actually invoked the words American exceptionalism in a campaign release earlier this year. It’s the old my-country-right-or-wrong/love-it-or-leave-it/ugly Americanism that has always been a mother lode of political opportunism for certain kinds of politicans and with appeal to a broad swath of voters.

Is the U.S. “Special in the world, divinely blessed, better than the rest,” as Brummett defined the term? A reflexive yes ignores the reality of the specifics, however great a beacon of hope and freedom we have been, are and hope to be. Demonstrably — take education and health care — all the specific comparisons can’t be answered in the affirmative. After arrogance, this is the biggest problem with the exceptionalism argument. If you’re already perfect, what need is there to seek to improve or learn from others who might have a better idea?

Advertisement

Be a part of something bigger

As a reader of the Arkansas Times, you know we’re dedicated to bringing you tough, determined, and feisty journalism that holds the powerful accountable. For 48 years, we've been fighting the good fight in Little Rock and beyond – with your support, we can do even more. By becoming a subscriber or donating as little as $1 to our efforts, you'll not only have access to all of our articles, but you'll also be helping us hire more writers to expand our coverage and continue to bring important stories to light. With over 63,000 Facebook followers, 58,000 Twitter followers, 35,000 Arkansas blog followers, and 70,000 daily email blasts, it's clear that our readers value our great journalism. Join us in the fight for truth.

Previous article Womack: I’m a wackjob, too Next article A closer look at charter schools