“President Reagan held up a mirror to the American soul to remind us of our exceptionalism.”
This idea, of America’s exceptionalism, is persistent. To me, however, the greatness and uniqueness of our country is distinct from its being better than others or even the best of them all.
I’m proud that we have a different founding story than many other countries – one based on solid principles, if not solid implementation (see: Trail of Tears, slavery, etc) – but we still have a responsibility to play by the same rules that everyone else does.
It concerns me to see American exceptionalism reaffirmed aggressively. We’re one country out of a couple of hundred. We’re 300 million out of 6 billion. We are a military superpower and an economic juggernaut; but surely, in the increasingly globalized world, it makes sense for us to think about what connects us to everyone else, and not just what makes us different.
Note: Thomas Friedman has an interesting article on our irrational fear of China.
Image credit: spacedustdesign on Flickr