I read this in my local paper yesterday. What do you think?
Is "exceptionalism" a good word or a bad word?
Does it describe what America was? What America is today?
By Kathleen Parker
Sunday, January 30, 2011
He didn't say it. That word: "exceptional." Barack Obama described an exceptional nation in his State of the Union address, but he studiously avoided using the word conservatives long to hear.
It's a funny thing, this focus on a single word that isn't much heard from this president but that tumbles so easily - and adamantly - from the lips of Republican contenders for his title.
We're going to be hearing it a lot in the coming months as Republicans try to out-exceptionalize each other for the presidential nomination. Exhausted already?
The exceptional issue may be political, but it isn't only that. The idea lies smack at the heart of how Americans view themselves, and the role of government in their lives and in the broader world. Is America exceptional or isn't she? Is there something about this country that makes us unique in the world?
Of course there is, and Obama has frequently acknowledged those things, including in the State of the Union. But he seems to avoid the word because, among other possible reasons, it is fraught with layers of meaning and because, to some minds, there's always the possibility he doesn't quite believe it. A December poll (USA Today-Gallup) found that 37 percent of Americans don't think Obama believes that the "U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world."
This nevertheless leaves a majority - 58 percent - who do think he believes it, compared with 86 percent who thought Ronald Reagan did, followed by Bill Clinton (77) and George W. Bush (74).
On the right, the word "exceptional" - or "exceptionalism" - lately has become a litmus test for patriotism. It's the new flag lapel pin, the one-word pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution. To many on the left, it has become birther code for "he's not one of us."
Between left and right, however, are those who merely want affirmation that all is right with the world. Most important, they want assurance that the president shares their values. So why won't Obama just deliver the one word that would prompt arias from his doubters?
I asked House Speaker John Boehner that question in a recent interview, curious to see how he'd explain the chasm between Democrats who see no need to talk of exceptionalism and Republicans who consider it crucial to their national identity.
Boehner said that either "the left" seems afraid of the word or, perhaps, they don't believe it. This caused a small tempest of protest in some quarters.
Obama did indeed speak of America's uniqueness, even recognizing Boehner, who grew up without privilege to become the third-most powerful person in government, as an exemplar of the American dream.
Do we make too much of a single word?
Exceptionalism became radioactive a couple of years ago when Obama was asked at an overseas news conference whether he subscribes to "the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world."
His answer has haunted him since:
"I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
I remember thinking at the time: Bzzzzt. Wrong, Harvard. That is not the correct answer. There was more to his response, in fact, but the impression was already set.
What Obama added was that "we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional."
Not so hard to say after all?
Calling oneself exceptional inarguably is problematic in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis; two wars that have resulted in untenable casualties; and crippling debt and deficits that betray the trust of future generations and behold us to China.
It also may feel jingoistic and inappropriate in these global times for one nation to set itself apart for self-admiration.
We mustn't brag, after all. Great nations don't have to remind others of their greatness. They merely have to be great.
Whether to take exception to exceptionalism is an interesting problem for the president and the nation. Perhaps it is best resolved through a presidential address in which Obama takes possession of the word and settles the question once and for all: What does American exceptionalism mean in today's world?
I think all countries have their own unique character. However "unique" just means different, one-of-a-kind. "Exceptional" would mean that America stands above all other countries in the world.
I have only visited America a couple of times. On those visits, most of the people I met seemed poorly informed about basic geography and history, let alone current international affairs.
America is a bit like Australia (where I live) because it's huge, and a long way from most other continents, so many people never go abroad, and have to rely on the media for their view of world events. The news coverage in America seemed so heavily biased, Americans basically have no basis on which to form a rational, accurate view of how their country rates against others.
I would rate America below almost any European country in terms of culture.
I agree with Marissa. The problem is that the neocons want American "exceptionalism" to be a code word for world military domination. Do not think for a minute that the neocons plan to stand by and have a stable world without provoking Russia. Even Pat Buchanan says these neocons are crazy and he is a conservative. He calls them the war party.
Excellent question. According to recent polls, we (America) are not the “happiest” nation. However, we do have enormous diversity, and the words, “melting pot” are significant; meaning, that we are more accepting of different cultures, ethnicities, races, etc. than other countries. I wish our education standards had not dropped so significantly. This is definitely where we need to do the work. (I wish I could underline this about a dozen times.) Nevertheless, the US of A seems to be the country where a number of others want to live – and I’m not referring solely to individuals from third-world countries.
So many countries have wonderful qualities that are markedly exceptional. (I don't have the time to list them all here.) To call one country exceptional over another is far too subjective in today's rapidly changing world.
I would not use the word exceptional to describe America today. Perhaps ho-hum
It's not really up to Americans to declare themselves exceptional.
I mean, what's to stop me declaring myself exceptional, it's meaningless unless others say that I'm exceptional isn't it?
I wouldn't call America ho-hum, but I would call our schools ho-hum. the reason is that out of our medicore schools there are still people that thirst for knowledge and once they get this knowledge then ssome of these turn that knowledge in buninesses and even powerful businesses.
I think that we still have the larfest # of rich people and now because of our economy way to many struggling/poor. But almost everday you hear that some person got themselves out of the gutter and decided 'enough' and started something that would either benefit America directly or indirectly.
My daughter is 'exceptional'. Second grade - she takes her afternoon math and science with other gifted students. In the morning she does an hour of reading with the third grade, because she entered the 2nd grade at a 3rd grade reading level. One thing that I will NOT let her day is that she's 'better' than any other student.
American is exceptional - there are examples from the genius of Thomas Jefferson to the contributions of the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford and Bill Gates. But if the word 'exceptional' translates on the world stage to - "We're better than you." then 'exceptional' is a word the President need not utter.
My daughter doesn't need to sour her relationships with arrogance. Kathy will need some of the children who would be offended. Team activities will be important and Kathy doesn't need for HER team to be committed to see her individually fail. Kids and countries remember being insulted for a long time.
Then the UK has the genius of Dickens, Shakespeare, James Brindley and Alan Turing.
John -my wife is Russian - if I did not learn a little and respect a lot of her national history & heritage, we wouldn't get along too well. I suspect that's true of nations.
Exactly Doug. I'm sure that she could tell you of some exceptional Russians too.
I learned about Peter the Great before I visited Saint Petersburg.
The 'Great Patriotic War' is thier term for WWII. 26 million Russians died, 10 million of them soldiers. The US lost less than 300,000. I don't discount the pivotal importance of America's entry into the war, but American history ignores the role(s) of other nations. This attitude often earns the US the contempt of other nations.
We may have out flaws, but we are better than any other country on the whole. It is what it is.
I have not seen any Balzac's in the US. Or Shakespeare, or Tolstoy, or Beethoven. Exceptional cultures raise exceptional people. How about Einstein? Hmm.
In my opinion entirely too many Americans base their view that America is exeptional on one fact. The fact that they were born here is what makes America great in their opinion. We are still good at a lot of things and that includes ignoring the cold hard facts that we disagree with.
We're really good at ignoring that we are a "has been" of the arena known as "exceptional;" unless you consider "exceptionally brain dead, brainwashed, violent, ignorant, and media controlled," of course.
"exceptional" is a word of excuse in the mouth of politicians.
The french representatives use it often, when they're uneasy to explain one or other choice apparently done against all good sense.
"The French exception" is the key.
Anyway, America is amazing, wheather exceptional or not.
I'd say, any people is exceptional, because there's no such thing as two identical things.
I thank America for Bill Cody, Huxley(even if he was Britt), The Mamas & Papas, Zappa, the Velvet and Lou Reed. Without forgetting the Beach Boys.
And so many I forget to mention.
God bless America !
And now, I'm gonna hit me bunk.
Ah, Bill Gates, the man who had to have the courts break up his monopoly; he's a classic American. The products produced by Steve Jobs are much better, and universally recognized as such.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/bu … softtrial/
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/28/busin … -SOFT.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/28/busin … -SOFT.html
Monopoly is a tricky concept since it is rooted in arbitrary definitions. Olivette produces a monopoly share of electric typewriters, but who cares. A monopoly in buggy whips or button hooks would hardly draw anyone's attention.
If Apples products were overwhelmingly superior in every way wouldn't Apple have a larger market share. Microsoft products enjoy such a large market share for a reason. I was not compelled by Microsoft to purchase a Windows based PC. Bill Gates' bully boys didn't show up at my front door to "make me an offer I couldn't refuse."
America has been owned by international bankers since they had J.F.K. killed for planning to get rid of the federal reserve. All you need to remember is that whenever the game of monopoly is won, all of that fake fed note money goes right back into the box, and we get the pleasure of seeing the whole system have to pick up the pieces, and create a new game.
Bilderbergers, Tri-Lateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Skull and Bones, Luminatti, Rosacrucians, Free Masons, Knights Templar, did I forget any?
THe Birchers were the suspicious not the suspects. The paranoid not the paranoia For the Birchers the Tri-Lateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations, et al were the focus of their animosity.
The only thing Gates proved is that he can make money.
america is great people are always trying to get in here 24/7
ediggity -- have you applied for a position as Obama speechwriter? You've resolved the issue perfectly!
We are "awesome."
That's national pride.
I agree with those who say the word "exceptional" implies superiority over other nations.
But I get the impression that those who are using that word like a mantra intend it just that way...
Hello Mighty Mom.
If everyone is exceptional, no one is superior or inferior.
Everybody is unique.
As you and me.
Good answer. The infinitude of the common man.
Uh Huh, let us digress and take the high road of proseletizing (sp?).........or to make it clearer, play the role of the tonic salesman in an old Western, the fake answer to all that ails...in lying words or a fake bottle of colored water, same difference from then to now....
I didn't make that comment up. I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson. Same first name. Same philosophy. Beats Ayn Rand's "Fxxk the common man and everbody else!"
??? You think that is answerable? Supportable? Has any rebuttal merit whatsoever??
Would you rather talk about Ralphie in A Christmas Story, his rights were violated by his Mom, he was forced in to so many layers of clothing to protect him from the cold that he could not walk. Do you recall how his arms popped up from the bulk? Ever happened to you? Has to me! Should we sue his Mom in todays America??
Or can we still laugh? I doubt it. Emerson would never have foreseen this very wierd world we find ourselves in today, no doubt he would be jailed by now, or in protective custody and or on an Islamic hit list.
If America truly is "exceptional" then there is no need to keep saying so. It will be evident to most.
I believe some are intent on making a point of saying it because, deep down, they sense that we, as a nation, are losing some of the qualities that made us exceptional.
A true leader just leads; he doesn't have to force others to follow.
If the US is unique from Canada,then it logically follows that Canada must therefore be unique from the US
That's accepted. The US is unique from Canada and from every other country. In fact, every country is unique, although some have similarities.
The question is, is CANADA exceptional?
I would be more than happy to outline the aspects of my country which have made me fall in love with it. I would be even more happy to examine the special historical, linguistic, cultural, political and economic forces that shaped its unique character.
Doing so however would bring me close to an expression of nationalistic pride... which is in itself very unCanadian
As long as people are kept busy yelling how execptional they are, they wont have the time to discover the truth about how far this country has slipped in most areas worth tracking.
What is wrong with admitting the people running this country for the last 40 years got us where we are today? It wasn't one side or the other. It was every damned one of them.
This country is fat, lazy and stupid. It is exceptionally unbelievable we haven't completely destroyed the country by now. Fixing the country isn't an option to those who are more interested in pointing out who is to blame for where we are.
So I hope all you exceptional Americans keep right on being exceptional until this country is no more. I believe that''s the one thing exceptional people truly deserve.
We need an Exceptional American variety show where we can show case all these exceptional people in competions with their peers from around the world. Any exceptional American that answers two questions correctly, get a trip to Disney World for their exceptional family during the annual Exceptional Americans Awards Show week, sponsored by the Drug Companies.
"Exceptional" means unusual or extraordinary (thanks Eaglekiwi). Every country in the world can't be unusual! They can all be different, and have their own unique characteristics. They can all have features which deserve to be called special.
But if you're going to call one country "exceptional", you're putting it above all the other countries. And without visiting other countries so you can compare, how can anyone make that claim?
I cannot define Canadian exceptionalism.
I am not Canadian.
I can't even define American exceptionalism and I AM American!
It's rapidly becoming "annoying exceptionalism" in my unexceptional head
I am not surprised that we no longer understand American Exceptionalism. We have been moving at an accelerating rate away from that Exceptionalims since the turn of the last century. Woodrow Wilson is often credited with the notion of American Exceptionalism. It is hard to give Wilson credit since Wilson, great Democrat, was a bigot and an elitist. I no longer attempt to explain any intellectual concept regarding liberty, natural law, free markets or American Exceptionalism to any one, especially liberals. The most meaningful knowledge is the knowledge we gain for ourselves.
There was a hint of Exceptionalism in the american people, for just a while. Americans seemed to be rising above the genocide that gave them so much land for free, the slavery that worked it for free, the bitter divisive war that is still being fought in the imagination of the people. After the founding of new politics of the modern government and unions in gangsterism and corruption. For a brief moment the American people were Exceptional when despite the cold war their imagination was opened up by getting into space, onto the moon and Kennedy was the promise of more new things and changes. Then you lost it and went back to wars and ideological rampages, your corruption became normal business, and your rich turned to creating their mountains of wealth but keeping it in other countries, while they force you to live in debt to them and the world, a debt they avoid by owning both you and the debt with their outside money and interests.
Thanks for the historical coproscopy. (copro - scopy)
I forgot the trend toward an inability to spell.
coproscopy - an originally coined word based in the Greek roots for dung and view. May be a better word - another originally coined - coproblepsia - a crappy outlook.
Condescension is repulsive.
Well, since we're apparently living in the last days of Rome, who wants to join me in the vomitorium?
When I hear people "complain" about American Exceptionalism it tests my gag reflex!
Not the last days - just the days waiting for something new and better - we hope. Americans may be many things from downright bad to highly successful, inventive, and some are exceptional - but as a nation you have not risen above any other in any way that can be seen as Exceptional. Exceptionalism as a noun description - when used without some exceptional national achievement recognised by the world outside the US is just hollow Nationalism. Now - if the US disposed of most of its armed forces, withdrew from those areas of the world it has no right to be and devoted itself to being the powerhouse of world change and improvement that it still could be - then the US would have the right to put Exceptional in its title.
"I no longer attempt to explain any intellectual concept regarding liberty, natural law, free markets or American Exceptionalism to any one, especially liberals."
This sophistry is for SOME a code for American Imperialism. The kind where you invade a country that's no threat and seize the assets you want. (Did you know that ONLY American companies got contracts for Iraq oil.) That national thuggery went out of fashion after WWII. You can't talk openly about invading to steal, so you develop a code word that excuses a war of aggression. "Exceptionalism".
This is cute, clever and coy. When you are talking to true believers, you know you are talking about bullying small countries into submitting to American Corporations (without a war when you do it right. But when there are moderates who get queasy about crimes on a national level - you redefine the code so 'exceptionalism' now is code for patriotic.
Works like a charm unless someone is rude enough to demand you define the term, meaning and limits... In that case, you have to revert to the opening quote.
America is exceptional because they say that the rules apply to everyone except them.
amen. The whole idea of "exceptionalism" is a ludicrous, pernicious mask. A mythic america that allows us to dominate the world, start unjust wars, spend untold wealth on military weapons and then congratulate ourselves on our moral rectitude.
No doubt, America is very much exceptional. From its very formation, the people in America think they are super-humans, and no one can question them. The unlimited natural resources make them think like that. But it is only 325 years old. Its resources may not long and they are bound to experience scarcity in due course.
Shortage or scarcity of resources in other parts of the world can be adjusted by help from neighbouring countries. But When their turn comes, no one will come to their help due to their isolation.
... and also due to their past sins.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever visited the US? You seem to be a self-proclaimed expert on Americans. I've never heard anyone in the US claim that we or anyone here is a super-human.
All my hubs were pro-Indian and were turned down with comments like "substandard" and "language not understandable" "insufficient stuff" and "without Photos". I have sent more than 25 hubs which all were turned down. So, I have decided not to do that. But is it necessary to post a hub for everyone? Cant we live without a hub? I comment only on subjects which are familiar to me and which needs answer. Otherwise, I have many other important work.
No. I have not visited US and there is no need to visit that country just to comment on controversial matters only. It is not necessary to visit a country to assess its performance. There are several other avenues to go into it deeply. For eg., the oath-taking ceremony of several US Presidents were seen in TV and websites. Can I see it if I come to America? The previous President, George Bush half-heartedly leaving the white house and the present president not inviting him for the dinner that followed were watched here with anxiety. We could also see his airplane circiling over the White house for a while before leaving. Are all these not enough? I have also had indepth study of US history from its foundation.
Many of my friends and relatives are there. If I have a chance to migrate, your America will be my first choice. Because I like it very much.
I consider America is the guarantor of freedom in many countries, have helped many countries from becoming defunct. It is saving several countries from extinction. The only worry on them is that they are continuously stirring the nest and never give rest to their soldiers... their resources are wasted on worthless and pro-terrorist countries.
Why can you not migrate?? We seem to have no issue with illegal immigrants? So I am truly curious why you would refrain.
Something about your post here makes me sad, very sad. I do hope one day you can come to America and it will then live up to your expectations.
O'k Mr. Venugopal, I understand you now, you don't like to write mail because..., you rather read mail and comment on the mail. I believe you. I just would never could have figured that out because the truth was too simple. Just asked.
I liked it first... to write hubs.. All my hubs were pro-Indian and would like to point out the wrongs done by the next large democracy, America. But the HP moderaters were too much pro-American patriots and just flagged my hubs. From a country with thousands of years'' history, I cannot accept that America is greater than India... just because of its wealth.... We, Indians were the wealthiest nation in the world and its wealth were robbed by outsiders, who speak law now.
"It is not necessary to visit a country to assess its performance."
Thank goodness for that, or most of us Americans wouldn't get to say a darn thing.
An exceptional thread, no doubt.
And hubbers are truly an excpetional lot.
"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."
It was Ralphie's younger brother Randy who got bundled up in his snow suit and his arms popped up. Same Randy who was not only allowed, but encouraged, to eat his meatloaf like a little piggy eating at the trough.
Ralphie did suffer personal rights violation from his mom, however, by being forced to model the pink bunny outfit sent by Aunt Clara....
Thanks for clarifying, I would never want to be responsible for misrepresenting the characters in this movie, and for sure Ralphie was sorely abused by having to put on that bunny pajama outfit, poor guy, I would have sued, truly worse than having your Mom put you in way too many warm clothes.......Cool......and yeah Clooney is aging well.
On Fetal Rights, I must say that I think late term abortion is pure murder under any circumstance. Any sexually functioning female in this day and age is well capable of practicing safe sex or refraining from sex during her fertile days, it is not rocket science, and for sure no late term abortion has any credibility, any basis that is acceptable.
I raise cattle, and just this past week revived one from death after a difficult birth via my very own breath of life, he is now quite happy, even trying well hard to kick up his heels in this frigid weather, he is a gift, and not one of the pocket book............
The War Party?
I thought they were the Fetal Rights Rule party!
I don't think the US is better than other countries, but it is unique. I think many of us have a fierce sense of independence. Also, we're a super melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups. In my small town alone we have whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The US landscape is also extremely varied, especially when you consider Alaska and Hawaii. Heck, we still have wild horses in some of the western states and on some of the barrier islands in the East! Not better, but definitely unique.
But Habee, every country has something unique about it. Many other countries have a wide mix of ethnic groups, and a broad range of terrains from wilderness to cities. America may have things to offer which other countries don't - but then, other countries have things which America lacks, like remnants of ancient civilizations, for instance. So America can't claim any special kudos for being unique, either.
I think the US has more diverse ethnic groups than other nations. Immigrants helped build our country - especially the West.
1.2 billion people
18 officially recognized languages
Number of mother tongues - probably a few hundred
Almost all major religions represented - including about 180 million Muslims and 30 million Christians.
Over 200 officially recognized tribes.
And yes - we drive on the left!
I disagree with your disagreement. She referred to ethnically diverse:
US = 6 or 7+ ethnic groups depending on how one classifies Hispanic and two or more races.
US= 10 Religious Preferences
India = 3 ethnic groups:
India = 6 Religious Preferences
https://www.cia.gov/library/publication … os/us.html
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
https://www.cia.gov/library/publication … os/in.html
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1% (2001 census)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Hindi 41%, Bengali 8.1%, Telugu 7.2%, Marathi 7%, Tamil 5.9%, Urdu 5%, Gujarati 4.5%, Kannada 3.7%, Malayalam 3.2%, Oriya 3.2%, Punjabi 2.8%, Assamese 1.3%, Maithili 1.2%, other 5.9%
note: English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial communication; Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people; there are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit; Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language (2001 census)
Habee, what do you think Australians came from? We were built exactly the same way as America - the Aborigines today form a very small part of our population.
Yeah, I thought Australia might be more diverse than the U.S., but it's 92% white and 7% Asian. Looks like it's missing the Hispanic element.
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_e … nic-groups
Yeah, but they allow atheists to hold office. Which makes them a lot more diverse than you.
99.9% religionists is diverse? Dear me. Exceptional edumakashun..........
Sorry, Habee, I see where we're not connecting.
Looking at that statistics site, it looks like the stats vary from country to country, depending on how that country does its reporting (Andorra, for instance, reports by nationality not race). Being a flamenco dancer, I know there's a big Spanish community, and a big South American community, in Australia - but we never talk about a "Hispanic" community, because that would be regarded as racist in our culture. So I suspect Australia doesn't report on them as a separate group officially, either. They're just "white".
Looking at nationalities, though:
My next door neighbour is an Egyptian - the one before that was Croatian. About a quarter of the people in my complex are Chinese. The belly dance teachers at my school are Lebanese, Greek, Brazilian and Spanish. There's nothing unusual about that - it's just an average slice of the Sydney population. Melbourne is even more multicultural.
Australia did get most of its people from Britain and Ireland until the end of the second world war, but then it opened its doors to European refugees of many nationalities. There was also a big influx of Vietnamese after the Vietnam war. In more recent years, we've had a lot of immigration from China, Malaysia and the Middle Eastern countries.
We got a good number of Vietnamese from the war, too. If I didn't live in the U.S., I think I'd love living in Australia. Or Scotland.
LOL, Habee, then you'd be going from one land of hurricanes to another! Have you seen the news from Cyclone Yasi today? It was bigger than Katrina, but luckily it hit our coast BETWEEN two major cities. There's a lot of damage to small villages, but because the numbers of people were so small, they were able to evacuate before it hit - so no casualties, we think.
I took a look at Yasi on the satellite and it was immense! Glad to hear it did not cause extreme damage to heavily populated areas! I feel badly for those that have had to face the continuously depressing weather related issues. On the bright side, your temps are in the eighties and I'm hoping for a high of 24 today!
Ahh but we do have remnants of ancient civilizations, 40,000+ years of Native American history, most of which that has been discovered is protected under our laws, and many Native American cultures survive to this day and govern nations within our nation.
How many other countries have nations within nations?They're exceptional if they do.
"In my small town alone we have whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. The US landscape is also extremely varied..."
Both the United Kingdom and South Africa would outdo America on the first point. and South Africa would outdo America on the second point...
South Africa has 11 official languages and countless more that are spoken without been been made official. And the ethnic variations and different nationalities that live in the country is about as varied as it can be.
4 Ethnic Groups.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2001 census)
https://www.cia.gov/library/publication … os/sf.html
You know, Ediggity. My daddy is stronger than yours. My mummy is prettier than yours. My school is ncier than yours. My baby is cleverer than yours.
Don't you think you're behaving like a 5 year old?
I don't get this obsession that Americans have with their country being 'the best'. The only people who think it's the best country in the world are the generally untraveled ignorant and uneducated. Those have have a fairly high level of education and have traveled internationally know that each country has some good and some bad.
Yes, America is the most powerful nation in the world. It spends more on arms than the entire rest of the world put together. If being part of the most warmongering nation in the world makes you proud, so be it.
I personally enjoy the good things that America has. I also enjoyed the good things that Germany had and England had and South Africa had and Lesotho had and wherever else I've lived and worked.
I, personally, don't have a need to prove that my daddy is better than your daddy. I don't paticularly care if your daddy is better than my daddy. However, to have to listen to this unending and innane braggadocio is unbelievably boring.
And I guess that's why it gets my back up.
That was a great story, but we have a saying here in America. It goes, don't hate the player, hate the game.
@ Ediggity. I like your reply
I don't hate the players. The game is 'America is the best country in the whole world because it's exceptional."
I thought you were playing that game.
I don't hate you. I'm pointing out the game you're playing...
Good response, by the way. Wish, I'd thought of it!
Unfortunately, it is absence of any sort of responsibility, if you hate the game and not the player playing the game.
Unfortunately, you're also playing the game, but you're hating on your teammates.
@ediggity. I don't thiink America anymore an exceptional country than any other country is exceptional.
I also think that as I've lived and worked in many countries, I'm not speaking out of blind patriotism, etc.
I think all countries have some good and some bad. Some countries have more bad than good, and other countries have more good than bad. But no country is 'exceptional'.
If I'm hitting on my teammates, I apologize. I have no desire to do that. However, bear in mind that every time someone points out that America isn't as great as some think it is, one gets insulted.
What makes you think I haven't lived and worked out of many other countries, and still don't?
You just don't get it because you think you have to be a fish out of water, even when everyone invites you in.
I don't understand your comment about fish being out of water...
I don't think America is all that great.I also don't think England is all great. I don't think South Africa is all great. I don't think that countries are great. I think the entire concept is daft. I don't understand patriotism and I don't understand people wanting to compete with each other to 'be the best'.
What I understand, and what comes naturally to me, is working together with others to make all places the best for everybody... and, yes, I do believe everybody has to contribute.
America is exceptional! The people as a whole may not be any more so than other countries, but the country is.
The original governmental concept is exceptional.
The capitalist system is exceptional.
2 World Wars were won because our exceptional military kicked the enemies ass, then our exceptional taxpayers rebuilt friend and foe alike.
Do we have flaws, absolutely! Do we try to improve, most assuredly! We are constantly building on our incredible foundation. Sometimes we stumble, sometimes we get temporarily blinded, sometimes we forget to be humble. The bottom line is this country is where more immigrants want to migrate to, than any other. I believe that speaks for itself.
@logic.coimmonsense. This is going to be my last post on this matter.
Firstly, the number of immigrants to America is declining.
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/10/03/ … 254547662/
Secondly, only 20% of immigrants have immigrated to the US during the last 50 years. 33%, on the other hand, went to Europe, making Europe the country of choice, not America.
Canada is actually the most highly desired country in the world with the highest per capita rate in the world.
In 2006, American had 1.3 million immigrants. Europe in 2005 had 1.8 million immigrants and counting.
I truly cannot be bothered to talk about this anymore. You must believe what you want to believe. I can tell you that 80% of South Africans prefer immigrating to Australia and the thought of living in America appals them. Very few of the citizens of highly developed countries wish to live in the USA. The majority of people who come to the States are from countries that are not highly developed. And even then, the majority prefer to go to Europe.
You've been lied to by your government for so long long that you're all totally brainwashed.
Do you honestly think that all the Aussies, Brits, etc. on this site are misinformed when they tell you that their countrymen have no desire whatsoever to live in the USA becasue their countries offer far more than the USA.
You are right about one thing, the government has lied to us for way too long. However I'm not the one that is brainwashed. And I'm not the only one that believes what they want to believe. Most of the people here are that way.
I don't think the Aussies are misinformed. Not sure about the Brits though!
They try - they being Gov Inc. But for the main we don't swallow what they'd like us to. I always wondered if one part of our culture ... the way we instantly strike up conversation with people we don't know, or yap away in pubs about 'what's going on' was their biggest problem.
We're not stoopid
That's odd ... Scotland is a fine place to live and UK wise - and one of the cheapest. Funny thing in the UK is that we don't class ourselves as being the same. Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England are all separate to us.
No one from Wales would ever call themselves English, likewise those from Scotland or Ireland. And you only have to wander over the borders (and yes ... even you can't see them they exist!) to notice the difference.
I explained all this to Simões way back. We are not (in our eyes) the same. You have to live here to 'get it'.
Anytime you fancy a visit, let me know - coffee and vodka are on me
Hey frog, only kidding about the UK! Some of the hottest chicks I have met online are from the UK!
Hey I know. I was just sayin' - no offence taken here. I was thinking along the lines of ... nooooooooo folks probably think because we're generally known for our reserve, aloofness (read that somewhere, of course they didn't mean me too ... ) and lack of frivolity (read: seriousness) that we swallow any old crap.
We're as we are because we're always plotting and planning how to stay a step ahead
OOPS! I meant to say, some of the most'exceptional' chicks...........
A step ahead of what?
The game, them, Gov Inc. They're always taxing us half to death (us being the ones that can afford it the least) and they think we're dumb enough to carry on regardless.
We aren't. Now and again we get cheesed off and let them know. We may be pretty reserved but there's nothing worse than an English that's been parted from his hard earned. Unless it's a Scot.
I have my good friend Lizzie to base that asumption on
Want us to send you some "tea", so you can have a "party"?
Ohhhh absolutely. No need for the tea-loaf though ... I think we can well do without the fruitcakes
Europe isn't a country. It's like 44 countries. I think I'd enjoy living in the UK - especially Scotland. But from what my friend from Carlisle, England says, I'm not sure I could afford it.
Everyone in America is a one-time migrant. All the native red-Indians were eliminated by the immigrants some centuries ago. So, there is no sin for anyone wishing to come to America.
"Original governmental concept" was not born there... May be in Rome, Greece, China, India, Iraq (Messapotamia), Iran (Persia) and the so-called under-sea continent called "Kumari", where the Indian Ocean lies.
Capitalist system will surely fail, if the law-lessness of the people continues. One should abide by law at any one time. But by-passing laws and causing economic failures and then blame the man at the White House will harm the country as a whole.
World wars were not won by America.... It sold arms and ammunition to the Allies in Europe and when they were prevented, they had to fight in self-defence. It was Britain's people (including colonies like India) who fought and shed blood to win the wars.
But in no war has America stood alone and won a battle. Till now, for any unworthy reason, it calls for cooperation from UK, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, etc, form an alliance and fight the smallest enemy like Iraq and Afganistan. If the campaign succeeds, credit goes to America. But when it fails, all the debts are placed on America.
All stumblings, blindedness and forgetting to be humble all hurt the masses in other countries... and America is winning more enemies in its bag for all its lapses.
The UK is 92.1% white. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/peo_e … nic-groups
I've never been to South Africa. Does it have glaciers, icebergs, giant redwoods, and volcanoes?
Amongst those whites are Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans, French, Belgiums, Swiss, German, Australian, oh just about every white race you can name.
In Manchester UK we have something like 90 different languages represented!
@habee. No, it doesn't. It has gold, coal, uranium, platinum, rich farmlands, ostrich, lions, elephants, cheetahs, diamonds, surf, sun, white beaches, desert, about seven different climate zones ranging from semi-arid, through mediterranean, oceanic, sub-tropical, etc. In terms of mineral wealth, it is one of the richest countries in the world. In terms of wild life, it's up there with the best of them.
It doesn't have earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or tsunamies. It does have some amazing electric storms which I always loved.
Can I send you our hurricanes and tornadoes? We get more than our share here in the Deep South! lol
@ I moved to Houston, so I'm betting I'm going to see my first Hurricane at some point. I feel quite excited about that. In another life, I would have been a geologist specialising in the disaster sciences - volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamies, etc.
Looks like 54,880,000 people from other countries think America is exceptional also. At least they thought exceptional enough to visit and spend their money here, and give the US the highest amount of visitors compared to any other country in the world!
August 2010 - Interim Update
Another estimated 14 million people thought America was exceptional enough to apply for a green card:
Not to mention the never ending abundance of people who apply for citizenship in the US each year.
The numbers don't lie folks, the US is Exceptionally Awesome!
The people who generally apply to come to America come from underdeveloped countries. It says something that Europeans generally don't come to America. Nor do Australians or New Zealanders. Yes, a few do, but they are the exceptions. The people who mostly want to come to America are those from the third world...
Hmm, so I guess the 54,880,000 tourists, more than anywhere else in the world, come from underdeveloped countries as well. Because they're all waiting to splurge on vacation.
France has 74,2 million tourists every year. So, if you want to base the claim to American exceptionalism on tourism, then the title has to go to France. Sorry.
Tell me, what is it about some of you people that you're so determined that America has to be the best. Most of you have never set foot out of this country. You're way down the list in most things but don't know it yet. You've been brainwashed by the media to think that a title that applied 40 years ago still applies.
Why do you have to believe that America is the best in the world. Would it hurt your ego if you suddenly realized you lived in the second best country or the tenth best country?
Can't you just enjoy the experience of being alive without having to be 'the best'?
To repeat, France has 74 million tourists....
"Can't you just enjoy the experience of being alive without having to be 'the best'?"
I could if I had to.
But I'm American, so I don't have to..
France is invaded by 74 Million a year?
Well, they're used to it.
Congratulations France bordered with about 5 other countries and approx 700 miles from United Kingdom!
We're not determined America has to be the best, it just is.
Why are you so determined to see it not be the best. Yet, you immigrated here?
Are you a citizen of the US?
Let me guess, are you an immigrant of French decent?
Another fine example of US understanding of world geography!
Hint, try 20 miles.
Sorry, I was referencing from Glasgow, I should have clarified.
Sorry, it's 556.43 miles from Glasgow to Paris. I overshot in my head estimate. I haven't been to that side of the world in 10 years. I think people from England still consider Scotland part of the UK?
http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/distance … glasgow_uk
But your original statement was 700miles between the UK and France:)
Yes, I understand. When I stated that I was thinking from Glasgow to the hot tourist spot (Paris). At least what I thought was a hot spot. I overshot by a 100 or so, so sue me.
Dear me. 700 miles huh?
Is 74 bigger than 54?
What is truly remarkable is that France is smaller than the state of Texas. What is also truly remarkable is the evidence of low self esteem, when it comes to Americans. If that were not the case they would not be beating the drum about how good they are, or how great they are. Americans a generally an ignorant people. And they are proud of it.
Yee Haw, says the man writing this on an American website, to the individual also writing on an American website, created by ignorant Americans, who also have low self esteem, and don't care about punctuation!
What was the last great novel written in the US?
I don't know, ask the creator of Hub Pages.
Your answer is exactly what so many of the responses have been. The typical US citizen has doesn't even know who its greatest authors are. Great literature tells us who we are and what we are about. The last great novel written by a US writer is probably Henry Miller's, TROPIC OF CANCER. When he finished the novel, in Paris, a friend of his said, "You might be from the US, but you have written a French novel."
Too many to list. My faves are:
The Grapes of Wrath
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Prince of Tides
For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Old Man and the Sea
The Great Gatsby
House of the Seven Gables
As I Lay Dying
Catcher in the Rye
Call of the Wild
From Here to Eternity
The Great Santini
The Color Purple
Great list. Fantastic list. Right away, however, I would throw out anything by Hemingway, except, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. DELIVERANCE? THE GREAT SANTINI? I
I am not sure I agree with those. SOPHIE’S CHOICE. Is Styron from the US? ETHAN FROME. Now that was a great, great novel. I had forgotten about that. LONESOME DOVE. I do not know. Will read it. I don’t consider Minchner much more than a journalist. Wouldn’t exactly call his works, novels. INVISIBLE MAN. That was fantastic. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. Any young nit wit who wants to go to war should read that before embarking on his John Wayne fantasy. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I think that was the first serious novel I read. I think I was twelve.
Keep the list going. It is so rare to be able to talk books. Henry Miller, William Faulkner and Mark Twain are our best writers. Do you really consider Melville and Hawthorne US writers?
Of course I consider Melville and Hawthorne American writers. Both were born in America. I do consider both too verbose, however. I actually prefer Hawthorne's short stories to his novels. What do you think about Thomas Hardy? Yes, I know he wasn't American. lol
I love Michener. I wouldn't rate his books with those by great novelists, but I love reading his works because I always learn so much. He was a great historian.
Styron was born in Virginia.
What's truly remarkable is that France is bordered by five other countries, and neighbors with the UK, yet none of those countries have nearly as much tourism.
Well, they are not France, then, are they? France is Magnificent. We are paupers, and so, I think, are those other countries, by comparison. I often wonder why US people so often say the disparaging things about France that they do. Could it be envy? No one talks about the US the way France is talked about. When France is mentioned it is about wine, food, beauty, clothes. The museums, the artists, the writers, the sculptures. The list goes on. Yes, I think it is envy. We can only imagine what it must be like to be thought so highly of. That is why, I imagine, Paris is the most visited city in the world.
Oh, yes it's Envy alright. Ask how many Americans envy France and see how many laughs you get.
So, would you say that if you saved up your vacation money, and had a choice to go to Paris or say Darfur, you would choose Paris?
I live in France, my wife is American and you have no clue what you are talking about. Sure - parochial home schooled Americans who think France is 700 miles from the UK would never consider France. But - I suspect you have probably never been out of your state let alone spent any time in Europe.
I am from America, live in America, and your opinion has no bearing on my care factor. Congratulations on an American wife. Personally I think that just adds to America"s exceptionalism. Additionally, you would be wrong about me leaving, living, and working out of my home state, and the countries I've visited. Lastly, like I said before, it depends what part of the UK you start from, and where in France you end up. In my head I thought about the flight from Glasgow to Paris; which, I thought was approx 700 miles, but turns out to be about 550. Big whoop.
Dear you, as usual, you would be wrong.
Doesn't matter how you dress it up, you said that the UK was 700 miles from France. Glasgow and Paris came in later as a face saving escapade.
Yes, I admit I didn't clarify. It was face saving nothing, it was an honest mistake. None the less, it doesn't matter to me, it could be a thousand miles for all I care. The UK still neighbors France and provides a lot of visitors, and that was the original point I made with respect to their large tourism.
And in the opposite direction the UK neighbours the US and provides a lot of visitors to the US.
What is your point?
That if the UK was as exceptional as the US they would have a similar number of visitors. You've just re-proven what I stated.
Proven? Oh yes - your logic is certainly "exceptional."
No re-proven. I'm glad you like my logic.
/riˈpruv/ Show Spelled[ree-proov] Show IPA
–verb (used with object), verb (used without object), -proved, -proved or -prov·en, -prov·ing.
to prove again.
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1520–30; re- + prove
—Can be confused: re-prove, reprove.
Your logic confounds me!
What are you basing your comparison on? Population, area, Disneyland, weather, what man, tell me what it is that makes you exceptional.
There is a whole thread on it. Start from the beginning and read everything about America. What truly makes America exceptional, in addition to the great people who make up and have fought for this country, is it's status as the worlds biggest super power, and unquestionable international influence (both positive and negative). Tourism is just one very small part that adds to how exceptional America is.
As I've already said, I see nothing that ranks the US as exceptional. Just how many of your people have stood up and fought for your country, did you lose a whole generation of young men in either of the World Wars?
The negative aspects of your place as a world super power cancel out any positive attributes.
I'm sorry, you've done and said nothing to convince me of your exceptionalness.
I'm not trying to convince you. The rest of the world is already convinced. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Lots of people stand up and fight for my country everyday.
Why don't we ever see threads with people from other countries showing their patriotism?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ … untry.html
Of course you do not care. That much is abundantly clear.
Yes - I can see how easy it would be to guess the UK was 700 miles from France. But - you are a good Christian so I cannot imagine you admitting you were wrong.
It depends what part of the UK you start from?
Yeah - Mexico is 3,000 miles from the USA.
And 74 million is bigger than 54 million if you measure it from the other end.
Why do you have to bring religion into it? I said it was an honest mistake what else do you want? You're problem is, you just can't let things go, because you have hatred in your heart.
Additionally, you're example is a little different, because the UK is made up of more than one country.
Did not see you admit it was a mistake. You actually thought it was 700 miles to France huh?
Which rather contradicts your other statement about the amount of tourism to France being based on how easy it is to get there. LOLOLOLO
Odd you are still fighting about it as well. Why not just say you did not know and leave it at that. Oh yeah - you like to fight because you love me so much.
I originally tried to clarify what I meant, but it wasn't good enough, so I said it was an honest mistake, which still seems to not be good enough. Yes, I thought from Glasgow to Paris was 700 miles. It's only approx 550. It doesn't contradict anything, to me a 700 mile flight is a $200 nap. I'm not fighting about anything, you're the one who keeps bringing it up.
Ah - just incapable of admitting you were wrong huh? OK. Not at all surprised.
Mexico is 3,000 miles from the USA. LOLOLO
Visiting a country on vacation doesn't tell you anything about the quality of the country. It just tells you that a lot of people are curious about the place!
I've been to American on holiday, but I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
Yes, people always spend their hard earned money on places they are just "curious" about. Not because they think it would be a great place to visit.
Well, glad to see you got a visit. Don't worry, we weren't hoping you'd pack up and move here.
People think China is a "great place to visit", because of the history. Does that mean it's a great country? People think Japan is a "great place to visit", because of the cherry blossom. Does that mean it's a great country?
Thanks to its size, different people will see America as a "great place to visit" for various reasons (national parks, surfing,the big cities, etc etc) but that doesn't mean it's a great place to live.
And I do think curiosity is a major reason for many tourists going to America, because we see so much American stuff on TV we want to know whether it reflects reality.
Different strokes for different folks. Point being, the majority of people aren't just visiting on vacation spending their hard earned money out of "curiosity". The average person/family isn't saving up their vacation money to visit some low quality place. Lastly, The people who visit China and Japan may very well think those are great countries.
@ediggity. Just a perspective here. It's a rite of passage for many Europeans, and countries of the Commonweath (the Old British Empire) to go see the word. We put a rucksack on our backs and go criss cross the globes. It isn't about going to fancy resorts and smart restaurants. It's about seeing what is out there. At the height of the cold war, my sister (on her own) went into the USSR on a train. She said she had never seen such poor people in her life. She also sailed down the Nile with some Egyptians. She went all over the place. She worked, scrubbing toilets in strange places, doing what she had to do in order to see the world. Lots of us do that. It has nothing to do with 'having fun'.
I've been to places in Central Africa that I will never forget. I also did a lot of sailing and visited all sorts of islands. I didn't stay in fancy hotels or go there to have a good time. It was an experience that satisfied a curiosity about what was out there in the world. In Gabon, the capital city was one building. The main shopping arena were tin shanties with money beads. Perhaps, you might not consider going to a place like that because it was 'low quality' but as far as I know, that is generally not the perspective for most travelers who do the 'rite of passsage'.
Just this evening, my 25 year old daughter and myself were discussing her going to Singapore because she wants to go and see what it's like. She's grown up with the idea that there will come a time when she will spend a year or so on the road. My hub about a Gap Year for Americans speaks about this. I would love to see young Americans go out and see the world. Even Prince William and Prince Harry had their 'Gap Year'. They went to Africa and Australia, to places where there was extreme poverty...
I'm not denying any of this. I've traveled to many less than desirable place, not by choice. Many of which I know for a fact few if any people are vacationing to. Good experience? Yes.
I'm referring to the majority; which is directly reflected by the statistics of The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
@ediggity, I'm not quite sure how the world tourism board gets it figures but as I bought my tickets to places the same places as everybody else, and as I used passports, visas, as did everybody else who went 'walkabout,' we're included in that figure...
Yes, you are included in that figure. It's an annual figure so it fluctuates. Point is, the "hot spot" countries are what see the majority of tourism; which is directly reflected by those figures.
And none of us have an issue with that. What we're saying is that just because millions of people are curious (or want to see if the ads are true) about a country doesn't mean that it makes that country exceptional.
And what I'm saying is that the majority of those millions of people aren't visiting countries out of curiosity. If that was true the places with less amenities, attractions, and lower quality accommodations would have just as many visitors out of curiosity.
The numbers show that the majority of people visit and spend money at countries that have the opposite of what I just stated. You're not really disagreeing with me, you're beef is with the UNWTO. I didn't make the numbers up from the World Tourism Organization I just posted a link to them.
Exactly. On my American holiday, the scenery was great, the service was inflexible, the souvenirs were tacky, the food was ho-hum and the coffee was awful. That doesn't mean it was a bad holiday, because it was a learning experience and that's was the objective of the trip.
Brits, Europeans and Aussies travel to broaden the mind and learn about other cultures, good or bad. You seem to think people only go on holidays to spend some time somewhere better than where they live. Maybe that's what Americans do, but it's not true for everyone.
America is exceptional... at least for the time being. Obviously Obama does NOT believe in American exceptionalism or he wouldn't be trying to "fundamentally transform" her into a socialist democracy.
You're more than welcome to leave. We're not forcing anyone to stay. Unless you're in jail awaiting trial.
"You're more than welcome to leave."
I would add even encouraged to leave.
This is so typical an American attitude. "Love it or leave it," isn't that the phrase? It is inane. It says Americans are happy with their lot, no matter how shabby, how rundown, how lowlife, how idiotic, which, of course, that statement is. It also speaks the Americans typically do, in cliches.
Good point Skip. God forbid you have any criticism about ANYTHING concerning your own country - you will be pounced on by the Ultra-Right. So stick to the following: McDonalds is great food - the best ever! No one can touch our healthcare system - everybody else's is just crap!Americans are the smartest, best-educated, highest-paid, holders- of-the- key- to- that- bright- shining- city- on- the -hill. God bless George Washington, Jefferson Davis, Ronald Reagan, and Sarah Palin!
God hates FA*S!!!!
Ok now you're safe - you'ver covered all your ground - the Right won't bother you any longer and SHAME ON YOU for having an opinion that doesn't pass conservative muster!
Thanks for that. We are a country of great freedoms and the right to speak what we choose, according to our Constitution, but not, apparently, to certain people. Thank goodness we have a Constitution to protect those of us with an opinion that does not jive with the masses. The masses are always wrong, of course.
By the way, I see logic,commonsense is toeing the line.
skip, you see only what you want to see. I have gladly and proudly put my life on the line in service to this country so that you and any other here could be free to say what they want. However if you are here to attempt to destroy this country, then I will attempt to stand in your way. I am proud of what this country really stands for, not what the present generation of politicians make it look like.
Unlike you I think for myself and toe no one's line.
Thank you for your service, and helping America to become more exceptional.
Oh stop now. It's childish. Logic manages to say the same as you without being boorish and arrogant. Proud to be an American without coming across as arrogant and insensitive.
It's insulting to other Hubbers that aren't US citizens. The irony is that HP is multi-cultural - and I hope every one is as proud of their own nation as you are of yours, without ramming it down everone elses throat.
Stop what? Saying thank you to someone who served their country? I'm just sticking with the theme of the thread. Is America "Exceptional"?
I hope everyone is as proud of their nation also, but that's not what this thread is about. He helped his country. I don't see how me thanking him is childish, boorish, or arrogant.
Are you abash about saying thank you to people who fought for your freedom?
Maybe you should have "arrived" without your prejudices.
You undoubtedly came expecting free stuff... what makes America exceptional is our self governance, which has unfortunately been eroded since FDR. But America will right itself as we have already begun defeating the socialist democrats overwhelmingly in 2010 and continuing in 2012 with the defeat of the socialist in chief, Obama!
What makes America exceptional is its ideals, which it has never--never once--fully lived up to.
Some people have the idea that we can stop trying, and in fact should stop trying, to live up to those ideals, and that in ceasing to try, we can still claim some chimaerical exceptionalism.
It's a mirage. There have never been a "good old days." There has never been liberty and justice for all. But we're trying, and someday, we'll get there, in spite of those who want to keep liberty and justice only for themselves.
Patriotism cells reaction perhaps ? You're yet to meet fanatics from islamic countries or from asian countries. They're much more extreme than brenda,TK on topic of patriotism.
"The Fantasy of American Exceptionalism," by Fred Reed
Talking head after talking head berated Moslems, urged support for our troops, and promoted American exceptionalism, meaning that the United States, like a Tennessee revival preacher in 1925, had God-given authority – specifically to meddle everywhere in the world in the name of virtue. I kept thinking: Do these people have the foggiest idea what they are talking about?
Apparently Freddy thinks he is the only one with God-given authority and it pisses him off when some uppity peasants think their country may be exceptional.
Ralph, you said it beautifully. The wonder is that any one of us answers and wastes our time on these inanities.
Coming back into this thread I have to chuckle at the last couple of pages worth of posts.
1. America is exceptional because we have the most geographic diversity.
(Are we the only country with mountains, prairies and oceans white with foam???)
2. America is exceptional because we have the most ethnic diversity.
(Yet we are notoriously xenophobic, keep our Native Americans contained on reservations, and the current battle cry is "kick the illegals back to Mexico" So really, are we that proud of our ethnic diversity???)
3. America is exceptional because more tourists visit America every year than any other country.
(LOL. When the Euro or other world currency is strong against the dollar, you betcha those tourists want to come here!)
Boy, we're really reaching here.
Here's mine --
4. America is exceptional because we have more states than any other country -- we have 57! Obama told me so
"4. America is exceptional because we have more states than any other country -- we have 57! Obama told me so"
America is less exceptional because so many of you believed him when he said it.
Sorry, MM. I have to disagree with you here. I think our diversity is wonderful. Hubby and I have had friends from all over the globe, and they've all enriched our life with their unique cultures and traditions!
Well I still believe it! If Obama says there are 57 states there are 57 states. And by the time he leaves office in 2016 we will probably have more like 63 or even 70 states!
No one has claimed Americans are exceptional at geography -- or math
Then again, we do get to claim baseball, jazz, and the Kardashian sisters.
I thought jazz had its roots in African music?
Uhhh....technically doesn't everything....
Jazz definitely has its roots in US slavery. But, we must remember, jazz is the child of blues. The US has made three great cultural contributions to the world. Blues, baseball and the US Constitution. After that? I can't think of much of anything, if anything.
and no one has proclaimed our public school system as exceptional. At least not with a straight face!
Well true enough, John. Jazz does have its roots in African music.
But you see, the exceptional colonists who founded our exceptional country were so intrigued by the African culture that they sought to "import" it to America.
These early Americans were actually quite prescient.
They foresaw that not only would the imported African Americans (although they would not be considered "American citizens" for quite some time)invent jazz music, they would also become basketball players, football players, Olympic runners, civil rights activists and notorious (in a good way) rap musicians!
Surely you know that 700 miles = 20 kilometres.
Everyone knows that!
While there are many exceptional qualities that America still retains; I think "exceptionalism" has become a crutch to excuse us not moving into the future and bettering ourselves.
We are exceptional so we do not need to contribute to a cleaner greener planet.
We are exceptional so we do not need to treat each other better or reform healthcare.
So on and so forth. Exceptional is an American enabler.
I've never been to the UK, John. I just know that when some of my black students went to England, they said they saw a sea of white faces. lol. My town is 32% African American.
Reminds me of Clinton's visit to London when he asked a black lad what it was like, being Afro-American living in London:)
There are places in the UK where you would see a lot more than 38% black faces, nearer 100% but that hardly proves anything does it? Certainly doesn't demonstrate American exceptionalness.
I think it's a matter of perspective. I tend to agree with you. However Marisa just infered that diversity was an attribute of exceptionalism.....
No, that's not what I meant at all. Habee was suggesting America was exceptional because of its diversity - I was just pointing out it's not exceptional or unique in that regard, giving Australia as an example.
I never said America was exceptional - I said it was unique. I'm largely basing this on things friends from Belgium, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, and England have told me. For example, our Japanese friends loved all the "space" we have. They said golf in Japan is an expensive luxury and that houses/apartments are very small. Our pal from Belgium was a huge fishing fan, and he said the water in his country was too polluted for fishing. My friend from Colombia was always worried about the drug lords and being kidnapped. As it turned out, his fears were not unfounded - his father was kidnapped. The Englishman we knew really enjoyed our hunting opportunities. Our Mexican pals (we have several) love the US!
America is not "better" than other countries - it's just different.
Forgive me, I was still sort of stuck on the thread title:)
I agree 100% Habee, but so are many other countries. People from Germany and France may look very similar, but go to the countries and you'll find big differences between them. That's why they became separate countries in the first place!
If you went to a European country, you'd find things that are better than America, and things that are worse than America. Everywhere has its good and bad points.
This thread has made me curious. Which country has the most immigrants? Anyone know?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co … on_in_2005
I think another interesting question is which country has the happiest people?
Thanks for the link. So the US has the largest number of immigrants, but not the largest % of immigrants. See - I told you we were diverse! What's sad is that not all Americans enjoy our diversity.
@Habee, I lived in South Africa for most of my life. Diversity, there, meant intensely different cultures. Here people might be ethnically different but most Americans have the same culture.
I think the word, diversity, has many different meanings. From where I stand, I see little diversity. When I lived in London, it was thronging with Australians, Nigerians, New Zealanders, Germans, Americans, Russians, pink men with purple ears. Whatever.
In America, I see a predominantly Christian, celebrity loving, money making culture. That's it. It doesn't matter about the color of a person's skin. That's not, in my book, that gives the diversity. What gives the diversity is the strong cultural differences...
Actually, Sophie, Bill Bryson commented on this in his book. America IS unique in that respect. I'll try to find the quote.
@ Mirisa. I have a great love for Bryson, but I, personally, do not experience any diversity in America. I see people who all have a very similar culture. I'm not allowed to put up a hub here, but there's a hub on South Africa. I don't see Indians dancing in the streets here. I just don't see it. I see most people as just the same.
Mostly, they all talk about whatever is on Dancing with the Stars, or American Idol, or what the lastest president has said, or which is better, Democrats or Republicans. It's the same conversation wherever I go.
So, where is the diversity?
The only thing exceptional about America is the amount B.S. that comes from political offices, marketing ploys by business and the level of ignorance from the citizenship.
Otherwise, there is nothing exceptional about America.
I don't disagree! I think our diversity is wonderful as well. My point was that I don't believe that when people (read: a small but vocal faction of the right wing) tout American "Exceptionalism" they are in any way, shape or form talking about our racial and ethnic diversity!
The diversity discussion has arisen here on the forum.
I think it's been fairly well proven that we (America) cannot use diversity as our claim to exceptionalism. So the search continues....
BTW, I don't know what state you are living in, Sophia Angelique, but I take your comment about a homogenized American society seriously.
@ Mighty Mom. I lived in California for 6 years and I've just moved to Houston, Texas. I would really like a definiation of what is meant by diversity, because I don't think it matters what color one's skin is. It's the culture that makes people diverse.
I'm hoping someone else can provide a good definition of "diversity" for the purposes of this discussion.
I agree that it is more about retaining cultural distinctiveness than about skin color.
I live in Sacramento, which does have distinct ethnic populations that visibly maintain and celebrate their traditions.
Chinese, Hmong, Japanese, Russian, Sikh, Korean, Vietnamese, and of course Mexican -- I'm probably missing a bunch.
And come to think of it, I hear a lot of people complain about forms being printed in multiple languages to accommodate them or saying that everyone should learn English because they are now in America.
So perhaps we are not as thrilled with/accepting of "diversity" as we say we are .
the blending of cultures based on immigration is what makes the US diverse but not exceptional. In each country there are different ethnic culture which makes it diverse in its own sake.
Here in America, there is a dominant culture among all the people, but there are emerging sub - cultures based on geographic differences and intermingling of immigrants and the people who are already here before they arrived.
Mode of economy is shaping the blending of the culture which makes it a little bit homogenous. America is a top receiving country (in terms of international migration).
Like here in Dallas, the culture is different from Memphis where I used to live. Food, accent and churches are a bit different, more Catholic churches here than there, and the food here are a both influenced by Mexican culture - Tex-mex foods. However there are all different fastfoods catering to all sorts of tastes - Chinese, taco bell, McDo, Asian store, Long john silver - fish and chips.
The American culture in general is ACCOMODATING like AUS. It is diverse (geographic and the interactions of immigrants - local and international) yet homogenous in one sense brought about by the economic mode which shapes information technology and fashion.
I live in a small South GA town, but even here there is cultural diversity. Maybe I see it more because I have friends from other nations. We have lots of festivals every year to celebrate this diversity. I've also attended numerous parties hosted by people from other countries, and at some, hubby and I were the only Americans in attendance. (We had to eat sashimi at a Japanese one.) I suppose I've been exposed more to other cultures than the average South Georgian because of my position as a teacher - I've taught students from all over. But it's not just diversity from people of other nations. The black culture in the South is also different, especially the Gullah-Geechee culture.
Balzac? Shakespeare? Tolstoy? Beethoven?
True. We don't have those dudes.
But who else but American can claim these exceptional cultural icons:
The Kardashian sisters
Pee Wee Herman
Barney the Purple Dinosaur
.... I could go on and on... and these are just the more "colorful" ones
The Wright Brothers
The list goes on .......
Oh yeah, you forgot Jerry
America is indeed exceptional - not necessarily better than other nations, but exceptional nonetheless... at least in a few key areas. Forty-five years ago the country was still mired in racial unrest; Civil Rights had just came into its own and the nation, at least in the South, was in a state of social upheavel. And now we have a black president. Like him or hate him, it's still pretty damn incredible considering that when I was a child, most American blacks held nothing more than menial jobs and lived as basically "second-class citizens." So the "American Dream," the ability to come from nothing and make something of yourself is still alive and well. That being said, I have seen America's education system take a nose dive; the dumming down of America is a very real and scary phenomenon.
Compared to places I have been in Europe, I find my fellow citizens to be a bit naive, certainly sheltered, and poorly-informed in regards to world history. But we live on a continent - our closest neighbors are they themselves former colonies of European powers. We have lived largely isolated lives up until the advent of the Internet and 24/7 news channels. But on the other hand, we have, arguably, some of the finest universities in the world and these universities have helped to educate some of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known. And yes, we have an arrogant streak - there's no denying it. But we are, at the heart of things, a well-meaning and extremely generous people. So exceptional? yes, in some ways certainly, in other ways not so much...
I think American culture is becoming a dominant culture and is fast influencing other cultures in different parts of the world because they own most of the dominant telecommunication facilities. Other major influences are Hollywood movies, music, and dances - by which through mass media can transmit and spread American culture. There is a cultural influence and transmission even to China, they so love basketball there plus lively energetic music. America is still the number one economy in the world that is why.
Snookie from Jersey Shore.
There is also a male equivalent on the same show.
His name is The Situation.
I kid you not!
The novels of John Updike and Toni Morrison come to mind
The last great novel written in the United States?
That's a no brainer!
Love Story by Erich Segal.
Superb book made into an even superber movie
@1969 or 1970. "Love means never having to say you're sorry."
Really, how about No Country for Old Men or just about anything else by Cormack McCarthy.
LOVE STORY? You have got to be kidding. Trite.
How about In Cold Blood by Truman Capote -- if we're judging our literature by its violence quotient
I can't stand Faulkner's writing. I had trouble reading those oh-so-dense paragraphs back in the day when I actually had an attention span. Couldn't even imagine it now!
Hawthorne is definitely considered American, at least I studied him in American Lit class.
No one has mentioned Fitzgerald -- chronicler of the flapper age.
What about Edgar Allen Poe?
That doesn't sound like a very positive tourist experience?
But I can understand that you can't just walk into any restaurant in America and expect great food.
Coffee -- your comment reminds me of the scene in Elf when Buddy the Elf arrives in New York and walks into a diner with a sign on the window "World's Best Cup of Coffee." He later takes his date Jobie to the same diner, blindfolds her and has her taste the coffee. And she says, "It tastes like a crappy cup of coffee."
Actually I enjoyed my holiday, because (like I said) the whole point of going to a foreign country is to learn about it, good or bad.
I am a bit spoiled at home, because you can pretty much walk into any restaurant in Sydney and expect great food - the competition is pretty intense so they have to be! And we had a lot of Italian immigrants after WWII so nobody drinks filter coffee - we all drink espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. Starbucks is undrinkable - did you know they make their lattes completely back to front? I didn't find a single decent cup of coffee anywhere in California. But that's OK, I can't get a decent cup of coffee in some European countries either, funnily enough.
Next time you come to California stop by my house. I'll make you a lovely French pressed Peet's Espresso Roast....
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