Why? Because Kerry always gets “a little uptight when I hear politicians say how exceptional we are… because it’s kind of in-your-face and a lot of other people are exceptional, a lot of other places do exceptional things.”
In his attempt to cover his political rear, Kerry admits how uncomfortable it makes him to hear politicians say how exceptional we are, right before he, a politician of over 40 years, talked about what makes us exceptional.
He also claims that so many other people and places are exceptional and do exceptional things. But if this were really true, then they would be the rule rather than the exception, and no longer be exceptional. He does know what that means, right?
[sharequote align="center"]America is exceptional; is unique, because of one thing – our Constitution.[/sharequote]
These two basic contradictions aside, this admittance of discomfort with the claim that America is exceptional is something that we have grown accustomed to hearing from the left. President Barack Obama himself has been shy to embrace this truth on more than one occasion.
Recall his idea that American exceptionalism is only found in the minds of those who believe it, as if it is simply a subjective opinion rather than objective fact. After all, the Brits probably believe in British exceptionalism just like the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.
And recall the lesser known opinion that meeting with the president is not a privilege that should be earned, because that reinforces the notion that America stands above the rest of the world. Gasp! American exceptionalism!
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool
This political tip-toeing around the notion of exceptionalism is absurd, but is the essence of the modern day left - where feelings are king and eggshells litter the rhetorical floor.
We are an exceptional nation and an exceptional people, and stating that fact does not insult other nations or cultures, it simply frames reality as it is. The left, as you can see above, tries to avoid offense by diminishing our own country and attempts a redistribution of greatness: Let’s make everyone equally exceptional by downplaying what makes us great! We are all equal!
The funny thing about it, and the thing that the left doesn’t seem to quite understand, is that our greatness, wealth, power and everything else is not the reason for our exceptionalism, it is the product of it.
As Kerry later explains, seemingly making himself very uptight, we are exceptional because we are defined by an idea “that people are created equal and that all people have a chance to aspire for greatness, for anything they want.”
He kept going, saying that we are “the only country that is literally united and formed around, and whose rule of law is based on that idea, one idea, and it’s pretty special.”
Close, John, but no cigar.
America is not exceptional because of our wealth. We are not exceptional because of our military might, nor are we exceptional for the multitude of technological advancements, inventions and products that have reshaped the world several times over.
America is not exceptional for the idea that people are created equal either, for that idea has been around forever and in the heads of many men.
America is exceptional; is unique, because of one thing – our Constitution.
We are the exception in the world because we trust the common man with liberty to choose his own life. We are exceptional because we have created a government that is formed around the notion of individual liberty; formed around the concept that the individual is greater than the government and that the government serves the people rather than the opposite.
Kerry references the Declaration of Independence when he speaks about all men being created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. While these concepts are integral in our founding, he stops short of a more important concept that truly frames what makes us unique:
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
This idea that the government is created by the people, that it only has power that the citizens grant it and that its job is to serve them and protect their individual rights was cemented in the Constitution.
We the people, trying to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” established a government that would protect, not grant us freedom; that would protect, not grant us rights; and that would be restrained from tyranny by a devotion to individual liberty.
That is what makes us exceptional. That is why we are unique.
Proclaiming our exceptionalism in the world is not the same as bragging about superiority or rubbing our luxury in the faces of others. Once again, it is not our greatness that makes us exceptional, it is our uniqueness that allowed us to be great.
Rather than downplay what made us unique, we should point out what has allowed the United States to rise from a ragtag bunch of colonies to the world’s biggest power. We should embrace what makes us exceptional, not shy away from it, and in the reclaiming of American exceptionalism provide an example for other countries to follow.
The odd thing about American exceptionalism is that I wish it wasn’t so exceptional. I wish that other countries would embrace the ideas of liberty, of individualism and of limited governments that serve and protect the people. But if this continues to make politicians uptight, if we continue to shy away from and even downplay our exceptionalism, then truly, we will always be unique.
What a tragedy that would be.
For other articles and writings by Darrell, please visit the Milk Crate.
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