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Exceptionalism' and Putin's op-ed and Ted Nugent

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In Russia President Vladimir Putin's much-talked-about New York Times op-ed he advised (for lack of a better word) President Obama against declaring the U.S. "exceptional," as Obama did in his address to the nation regarding Syria this week. "It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional," Putin wrote, "whatever the motivation."

Of course the idea of American "exceptionalism" is something many people, here and abroad, take exception (for lack of a better word) with.

Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple makes the case for American exceptionalism, citing, of all things, the case of outspoken conservative rocker Ted Nugent:

Putin’s elbow makes sense on a certain level. Most parenting experts will tell you, for instance, that it’s a mistake to inform your children that they’re exceptional. It can prompt big-headism and complacency. Perhaps the same dynamic applies to a country.

Yet, as they say, it ain’t bragging if you can back it up. And if there’s one area of American exceptionalism that Putin can well appreciate at this point, it’s freedom of expression in the United States. Dial back to April 2012, when rocker Ted Nugent, at an NRA gathering, decided he’d say some threatening things about his country’s leadership: “I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?”

What might become of a Fyodor Nugenteyev who decided to pop off in similar fashion about Putin? Hard to say, but consider one of the stories bubbling up in Russia these days: “Russian journalists face charges over ‘negative’ Winter Olympics stories.” According to Human Rights Watch, outlets covering preparations for the Sochi games have “faced threats and harassment after publicizing violations or concerns about the Olympics. ..." ...

Nugent, meanwhile, triggered some interest from the Secret Service, and then went back to spreading his views all over the place. Exceptional.

@eScarry

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