Do you believe in American Exceptionalism?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by LineInTheSand, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Yes? No? Why?
     
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I believe we are Exceptionally non exceptional except when exceptionality is expected by those more exceptional then ourselves.

    Holy S*#t, pass the Tylenol !!
     
  3. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Jcleppe, I take acception to your dizzying comment.

    LITS, a lot of people have used the term "American Exceptionalism", but you might want to define the term before the fun erupts so at least we know what we're arguing over (or was that an intentional omission?).

    If you mean we have the best pro basketball teams in the world and should win the men's and women's gold medals at the next Olympics, then, yes, I believe in American Exceptionalism.

    If you mean the American nation was divinely created to uplift the red, yellow and brown races from their benighted status, and re-invigorate the degenerate blood of the Old World, then not so much.
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    HELL YES.
    :groupwave:
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Wasn't really making a comment, I just wanted to see how many times I could fit Exceptional into one sentence.

    Slow day at work and getting ready to go on vacation.

    I do like your response though, it was exceptional.
     
  6. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I used to. Seems we pissed it away.

    Now, what time does American Idol start?
     
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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  8. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Do I believe in American Exceptionalism?

    If enough of us do, the bubble will eventually burst. Once you blind yourself to reality with this thinking, failure on a grand scale is certain.

    A certain humility for our place in history will go a long way to preserving our place in history.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I couldn't STAND Newsroom. A liberal show pretending like the main character is conservative.... but the REAL reason I could stand it was the way it painted the media. Sorry folks, it isn't that ethical. Each night isn't a confrontation of good and evil (and in a real news room there's much more cursing).
     
  10. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Don't forget to tune into America's Got Talent where 75% of the "judges" are not US Citizens!
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Agreed. My mother and father spent decades in the newspaper business. My dad was always bristle when people would say "The news media has a duty to..X Y Z."

    The media has one duty: to make money. It's a business.

    Now, I liked Newsroom. I just suspended all belief because I like Daniels. You should, however, watch this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwnUeIIqABo
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Ok, so I asked the question and never answered it....

    At one time I thought the United States was the bee's knees, that we were exceptional in every way, and we always would be.

    I don't now.

    What changed for me?

    There will always be bubbles and bubbles will always pop. Maybe it was the first major economic decline of my lifetime. Maybe it has been seeing Obama at work, or my experience with adminstration officials in 2010 during the BP oil spill and maybe it's just the realization that things change.

    As we the best now? I hope so. And I hope we are for many years to come. We have the strongest military, and yet I'm very concerned about the risk of our debt load.

    The United States became a true super power while Europe and Asia were trying to pick up the pieces from WWI and WWII. We had the best standard of living, the best minds, the newest technology, the best food, etc. We also had a government system unrivaled, in scale, by any other nation.

    And then, we (starting with the "Greatest Generation" and pushed forward by baby boomers) got very comfortable. We won. We were the best. We could afford TVs and cars and houses and little creature comforts our friends in Europe could only dream of. And because the homeland had gone almost untouched, it was much easier to move forward with that standard of living, while Germany, France, Russia, England, Italy, China, Japan, etc. started to rebuild.

    It's safe to say that it's far easier to run a race chasing someone than setting the pace. The U.S., for much of the 1900s and certainly through the 2000s, has set the pace. In many ways we have set the standard, and other nations are closing that gap. Was that always going to happen? Sure! We did that too, to the world powers before us.

    Look, I'm a conservative. I vote Republican. I get very disturbed when I hear from Republican candidates that the U.S. is special. It is, in some ways, but that doesn't mean it always will be. We can't sit back and assume that it's just special, that Manifest Destiny is "real" and that we're top dogs, from now to eternity. We settle back and ride the work the the people before us. Not our parents. Not our grandparents, but the folks that pushed the United States to the top.

    I read a book awhile ago about why nation's fail. Often the U.S. was held up as an example of how not to fail. It made me feel good, for a second. And then I started to think about the nations that had failed. The LOOOOONG decline of the Roman Empire. I'm sorry, but the 2,000 year old Roman Empire's record is being compared to the 250ish year old United States? We have many more years to approach that 2,000 year mark, and I'm not sure we're going to be at the top of the heap when that time comes.

    Is the United States great? Sure. Is it exceptional? I think right now it is. Does this exceptionalism extend into the future? Not if we don't work for that. I think we take it for granted. We assume we will have the comfort and security that comes with being a super power.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    That was my old boss on the TV in the first Newsroom clip, at the oil spill, and episode I REALLY couldn't stand.
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Fracking and Diversity.

    I can't remember the exact framework but I recall as something like a nation requiring natural resources (to include land) and human resources to prosper.

    I believe 90's was the decade where Japan was going to become a superpower. That didn't work out as Japan lacked the natural resource and reached their limit on how much they could do with human resources.

    Russia made a comeback with oil and gas

    Oil producing countries in middle east are done once they run of oil

    India has abudance of human resources, but lack natural resource

    USA is blessed with geographical isolation, natural resources, and human resources (through immigration) become a superpower.

    Assuming we act with some common sense and don't stop fracking for enviornmentl concerns, oil and gas from fracking give US significant economic advantage. Money talks so I think anti-fracking folks might be winning the battles, but will lose the war. Look at the Keystone Pipeline, the union is supporting it. That's why President Obama has been keep deferring the decision hoping the backers will give up. But I think the economic incentive is still good for the backers to give up yet.

    Diversity. This will be more of challenge but US does a lot better job assimilating immigrants that any other countries.
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    In agreement with much of what LITS and MemberLG have stated. Some of the reasons we were exceptional are:

    1. The difficulty of getting here, which has diminished over time to where it's no longer a barrier, meant that only the determined could get here. That alone meant they brought something special with them.

    2. The ability to actually own land which was nearly impossible in Europe. Niall Ferguson made a big deal about this in one of his PBS historical series. He actually called it one of our killer apps.

    3. Vast space and resources to be developed which were a big contribution to our growth and ability to assimilate immigrants. I would add to that an excellent public education system.

    4. At least in the Civil War and much of the 20th century, many American males had a shared experience in the military... a common bond between them all.

    These things have diminished over time. It's no longer difficult to get here. The government no longer gives land away and goodness knows the economy is no longer the driving force it once was and we purposely avoid developing some natural resources. And don't get me started on public education.

    Finally, the major contributor to the fall of the Roman Republic (since LITS mentioned Rome) was the change from citizen soldiers to a professional volunteer army while the elites pampered themselves. Caesars, both good and bad, came to power through support of the military. Certainly not implying that could happen here, but I am saying the change in dynamic of how our military is structured certainly has a influence on our sense of nation, if nothing else.

    One of the contributing factors to the fall of the Roman Empire is that they lost control of their borders. 'Nuf said.
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Explain this, please.
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^^
    It originally took months to get here by ship back in the 1600s. Improves to weeks over time. Now it a plane or train ride and you're here the next day. Or did you mean something else?
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Ah, I thought you meant our immigration process was somehow simpler now, or were alluding to "them damn illegals." Yes, your points are quite valid.

    A plane ride versus the middle passage.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Them damn illegals. Since I've picked them up, I could probably talk about them.

    They're not all bad. They're not all good. Prior to Bill Clinton's "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" policy there was NO migrant smuggling operation from Cuba. Almost overnight, an industry was created with the simple idea of "if you get here, you can stay." The pospect of a probationary citizenship tied with touching land made getting here as quickly as possible the name of the game. So, for $10,000 a head, load up a small fast boat and drive for the closest extension of U.S. soil. Of course, running petal to the metal with humans packed in can be dangerous.... so some die. Some make it. Some try the "safer" slow route of a "chug chug". Often they're intercepted. I have no doubt some go missing, all hands lost, carried out to the North Atlantic. Some were innocent children, others were fleeing Cuba because they were wanted for the murder of their girlfriends or family members.

    While the "go-fast" migrant smuggling industry sprung up in Cuba, Dominicans and Haitains continued to go the slow route, loading up 60 ft "chug chugs" with 200 or so friends, barely any freeboard. Some would make a bit stop in the Bahamas (not to the pleasure of the Bahamian Defense Forces or BDF), others would make the long, dangerous trip up the Windward Pass, in hopes of finding SOMEWHERE better than Haiti.

    Illegal immigrants are in the U.S. Some were criminals before they crossed the U.S. border. Some are killers. Some are innocent children. If I stop thinking about the faces (and if you do enough migrant interdiction, you will, at least in part, dehumanize it) I would be concerned about a response to "if you're hear, you stay." How similar would the response be to "wet foot, dry foot."

    And I see it as someone who not only dates (I'm no longer married) a U.S. citizen who became a citizen through the legal immigration process, but also as someone who has relatives who came to the U.S. through the legal immigration process. They're proud of their citizenships and have stronger feelings than most on illegal immigration.

    That's my 10 cents on "them damn illegals."
     
  20. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    Much respect and thanks to LITS, and all the other CG members who put their lives on the line trying to halt continuing droves of illegals along with the other rescue operations that they conduct. That was a great summary of what you have to go through day in and day out.

    Which leads me to a thought: when our country no longer remains attractive enough for an immigrant to risk life and limb to break into in order to seek a brighter future, then American Exceptionalism will no longer exist.

    So many countries have to contain their people from leaving. We are one that everyone still wants find some way to enter. That is indeed exceptional.
     

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