Blogs » Politcs Plus » What's in a word like exceptionalism?



Sunday's Houston Chronicle, featured an article written by conservative Pulitzer Prize winner Kathleen Parker. The title of her artice was " With all its problems, is the U.S. still 'exceptional?" She goes on to explain how the word exceptional a spoken adamantly from the mouth of Republicans, yet that word is rarely used by president Obama or the democrats. She said that we will be hearing his word in the coming. months as republicans try to exceptionalize each other for the presidential nomination. I would have never known not using the word" Exceptional" by our leaders offended some, if I didn't read articles from conservative journalists.

Kathleen Parker thinks that the exceptional issue may be political, but it may also be in the heart of how Americans view themselves.

A December Gallup/USA poll found that 37% of Americans don't think Obama believes that the "U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world." That left 58% who believes he does but it is remarkably lower than the 86% who thought Reagan did, followed by Clinton(77%) and Bush (74%). It's an opinion poll and I will leave it at that. Ms. Parker said" on the right the word" exceptional"-or "exceptionalism" -lately has it become a litmus test for patriotism. She said it was the new flag lapel pin , the one word pocket edition of the U.S. Constitution. She said too many on the left, it has become birther code " he's not one of us." She might be on to something,she does have a Pulitzer prize.

In her interview with speaker Boehner, she asked him about the chasm between the democrats not using the word" exceptional" and republicans who see this word as crucial to their national identity. She recalled when the single word became radioactive when president Obama was as an and overseas news conference whether he's ascribes to the " the school of American exceptionalism that sees America is unequivocally qualified to lead the world." The president angered many on right by saying" I believe American exceptionalism just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."....I thought the president was using good diplomacy, you don't have to flaunt it to have it. As Kathleen pointed out Obama did say" we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices and, in our belief in free speech and the quality that, though imperfect, are exceptional."

Kathleen Parker summed it up by saying" Calling oneself exceptional inarguably is problematic in the midst of : an ongoing financial crisis; two wars that have resulted in an untenable casualties; and crippling debt and deficits that betrayed the trust of future generations and behold us to China." She also said it was inappropriate for one nation to set itself apart for self -admiration. They merely have to be great.

I have always admired and and respected Kathleen Parker because she is not an ideologue and even thou I might not agree with all her views; she always tells the truth, accepts blame and doesn't try to sugarcoat failure or success.

I take it for granted that everyone is a patriot and they want what's best for this country because it's in their own self interest. My patriotism has been questioned many times just because I'm not a conservative Republican.My Catholicism has been questioned a couple times because I am pro choice. I love politics but I don't like superficial talking points,lies, and hyperbole being substituted for substantiated facts.If I make a mistake then by all means call me out on it but don't bore me with gloom and doom futuristic predictions just because you assume I have not heard them before. I've been around since the Eisenhower administration, and the optimistic and pessimistic rhetoric has not changed. There are instances when words matter but I think we should put more emphasis on the deeds. It is my opinion that we're trying to masquerade a culture war. Arizona(there goes that in state again) will likely pass a law that will require every presidential candidate to show a birth certificate before their name will be allowed on the state ballot. The law will most likely be overturned by the Federal courts but a president's birth place has been questioned before but legislators have never taken extreme action, Arizona is. If they can't win at the polls, use other means. I only wish Arizona was unique.

I have trouble understanding why people have to wear their feelings on their sleeve, have a one sided view of the world(theirs) and don't take people as they are, rather than trying to change them to what they want them to be. We're all opinionated or else we wouldn't be posting in this forum. We all have a bias but let's argue about substantiated facts from reliable sources. We just recycle the same old arguments with the same results. I am not trying to recruit for the democrats(nor do I have that ability)- trying to get people to like president Obama or to agree with me. I'm using this online journal to post my thoughts and opinions.