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Mon Dec 15, 2014
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Have you ever had someone ask you why you just don't just leave the country whenever you express even the slightest frustration with the status quo? It's a common refrain from those who believe in American exceptionalism and is something I've heard so often that I've begun to push back more forcefully against those who suggest I leave my homeland because I have the gall to question if we are living up to the ideals that actually do make America the best country on earth. So I'm sorry naysayers, I am not going anywhere. I'm going to stay here and work to make this the best country the world has ever seen.
American exceptionalism is a term that I'm not wholly opposed to. Who doesn't want their country to be the best country in the world? It is also important to remind ourselves that peoples of countless countries think they are exceptional. America is not unique in thinking we are the best, and that is okay. The one thing America has going for it that very few other countries have is that we are a genuine melting pot. Millions of people of all races and religions call this wonderful country home. Some may have a harder time than others, but every group has eventually assimilated into this great country that they now call home. This singular fact is what truly makes America exceptional.
I believe we need to begin a movement to redefine American exceptionalism. We can do this by actually living up to the ideals set forth in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined into law in our Constitution. Those who bring up our history of racism and slavery will get no push back from me, other than to remind you that change may be slow, but it is steady. We have corrected some of the mistakes in our original Constitution and continue to move this country forward.
You might ask how I would define American exceptionalism and turn it into something other nations think positively of when they hear the term. First off, I would define it by what I said earlier--America is truly exceptional because we are a melting pot of all nations. Peoples from every single nation on this earth call America home and millions more strive to call it home. That is absolutely exceptional and something that no other nation can ever say.
I also believe that America is exceptional because, for all of our faults, we feed and hydrate the worlds most vulnerable citizens. It is not reported on nearly as much, but we drop far more food, water, and medical supplies than bombs and missiles. We feed the hungry, cloth the cold, hydrate the thirsty, and heal the sick. That, as well, is truly exceptional.
There are countless other things that make our country truly exceptional. So the next time you have the audacity to question this thing or that thing and someone asks why you don't just leave the country, remind them what truly makes this country exceptional. We are the best country in the world, but not in the way they are insisting.
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