As we transfer into the second month of 2021, our nation has loads to consider. With over 28 million infections and 500,000 useless, the US has struggled extra than another nation with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Along with having the very best variety of reported instances and deaths, this previous yr has revealed the volatility of US politics. Our nation has just lately witnessed a unprecedented assault on the Capitol Constructing – an occasion that can virtually definitely be studied for many years to come back – spurred on by none aside from former President Donald Trump. Earlier than that, Trump had traveled the nation to persuade his supporters – over 80 % of them agreed – that the election had been rigged. Previous to the election, COVID-19 uncovered America’s downside with racial and financial inequalities, reminiscent of low revenue and not white People have been hit the toughest. Moreover, the pandemic has uncovered our hyper-partisanship – it stays lack of consensus on how finest to take care of the disaster. Whereas 2020 has definitely revealed loads, maybe greater than something, it has proven that it’s time to eliminate the parable of American exceptionalism.
American exceptionalism is the concept that America is just not solely distinctive, but additionally inherently finest than different nations. The concept is especially well-liked in conservative circles, the place the declare that “America is the best nation on the planet” is seen extra as a triumphant reaffirmation of what’s already identified than a press release subjected to evaluation. goal. This angle has turn into synonymous with allegedly patriotic pondering in America, and it stems from the truth that America was based on the Enlightenment. ideas, together with freedoms of expression, faith, autonomy and due course of.
As People we’ve got a lot to be pleased with in relation to the historical past of our nation, and in some methods America is really distinctive. America was based solely on a set of noble beliefs. Nevertheless, for a lot of its historical past, these ideas have been denied to most People on the premise of race and gender. So whereas we could have fun our nation’s foundational imaginative and prescient, we should not make the error of assuming that our nation has by no means absolutely lived as much as these beliefs. Even now America is way from good, and we should always always combat to make America maintain its guarantees to everybody.
Extra importantly, the query of whether or not America is outstanding or not is a topical query – not a historic one. It might be true that America was distinctive in comparison with its friends 250 years in the past, but it surely would not matter if as we speak’s actuality is totally different – which it’s. In the case of what issues most – way of life, life expectancy, self-reported happiness, incarceration fee, social mobility and even freedom itself – America is unusually uncommon. America would not rank within the prime ten for any of those instances, excluding incarceration – the place the US sadly ranks first, largely attributable to its historical past of systemic racism. The failed pandemic response is one other instance of how America has fallen in need of its friends.
As People, there are two methods to reply this downside. The primary is to place your head within the sand, denying that an issue exists and persevering with to stay with the illusory perception that our nation will at all times be one of the best. That is the trail taken by excellent People, and all of it ensures that America will proceed to do worse than its friends. The second reply is to look objectively on the issues going through the US and take care of them accordingly. To do that, we should take into account the chance that America is at the moment no higher than different nations.
Sarcastically, American exceptionalism is the largest impediment to creating America really distinctive. It fosters complacency rooted in ignorance and stifles the will to create optimistic change. In any case, if America is and at all times would be the finest, then why trouble to sort out its issues? Those that consider that America is one of the best nation on the planet are unlikely to concentrate on the issues it faces and due to this fact are unable to take the suitable steps to resolve them.
Proper now, it is thought of patriotic to blindly cling to the concept that America is inherently superior to all different nations, but it surely actually should not be. If patriotism is loving your nation, caring sufficient about your nation to attempt to enhance it’s the most patriotic factor you are able to do. Whereas it is heartwarming to consider that your nation is inherently higher, it’s in the end at odds with making it a actuality. As People, we should always love our nation and our fellow residents sufficient to face the tough actuality that the US has deep-rooted flaws that at the moment stop it from really being the best nation on the planet. I feel we are able to overcome them, supplied our nation begins to rely by itself flaws and shortcomings.
Sam Mattingly is an opinion columnist for The Cavalier Day by day. He could be reached at [email protected]
The opinions expressed on this column are usually not essentially these of Cavalier Day by day. The columns signify the opinions of the authors alone.