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Thread: American Exceptionalism and Patriotism...

  1. #1

    Default American Exceptionalism and Patriotism...

    I think this is one of the most misunderstood phrases in politics both by everyday people and by politicians, so I wanted to try and explain in my own words what the basis is for those who believe in American exceptionalism, and why it's probably NOT what you think it is, and to get your responses.

    First, and probably most importantly, those that believe in American exceptionalism do NOT believe Americans are better than everyone else in the world or that America as a country is better than any other. Every human being is beyond value, and of equal importance with every other, no matter where he or she is born or where he or she lives! Someone that, through no fault of their own, happens to be born in a country with a brutal dictator is no less important or valuable than one born anywhere else in the world!

    So that said, why do I still believe in American exceptionalism? It’s not about America as a whole or an absurd fandom in America like the belief that a person might have that his or her favorite sports team is exceptional, or about selfish pride. The exceptionalism of America is based in what’s written into its founding documents. The United States is the ONLY country in the world where the value of you as an individual, the unalienable rights of you as an individual, and the fact that these rights are bestowed on you by God solely because you have been born and are alive, is not only recognized but is actually WRITTEN INTO THE LAW. Furthermore, because of the fact that these rights are given to you by a higher power, no other human being or group of human beings, whether king, dictator, president, parliament, or congress will EVER have the power to take these rights from you.

    As I heard someone else say earlier this week, I could move to France and learn French, but I would never BE a Frenchman. I could move to China and learn Chinese, but I would never BE a Chinaman. I could move to England, but I would never fully BE a Brit. However, anyone in the world can move to the United States, become an American citizen, and fit perfectly into the wonderful mosaic that is America, and actually BE just as much an American as anyone born here… because really, there is no such thing as an American because we ALL, whether yesterday or by way of our ancestors 200 years ago, came from somewhere else.

    Also, I think we had a thread earlier about the definition of a patriot. To me, an American Patriot is one who believes the above with all he or she is and is willing to fight to protect it! Not to protect America as the only country with this exceptional system of rights, but just the opposite… to protect America from losing this system and falling to tyranny, and to fight toward the goal of the day when every person in the world would be able to enjoy these rights, and the day when the United States will no longer BE exceptional because EVERY country would recognize the value of life and of each of its citizens.

  2. #2

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    Not sure if trolling or just painfully misinformed.

    If the former, good work, you got me. I don't even know where to start with that if the later.

    Your country has immigration laws like most others. Assuming someone gets in, your mosaic is more like a melting pot. If you consider shunning ones diversity and adopting American culture "becoming American" then I guess you've got something there.

    Your constitution (something which many other countries also have..) doesn't really mean much if the rights "guaranteed" within are gradually eroded away.

    Have you ever actually left the US?

  3. #3

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    Furthermore, most of the founding fathers were, I believe, atheists... Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the US a secular nation?

  4. #4
    acorn

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    Maybe I’m a snob, but I would differentiate between residency and citizenship. Without full voting rights, residency is as much as you’ve got. A blow-in will always be seen as a blow-in.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyJessi View Post
    The exceptionalism of America is based in what’s written into its founding documents. The United States is the ONLY country in the world where the value of you as an individual, the unalienable rights of you as an individual, and the fact that these rights are bestowed on you by God solely because you have been born and are alive, is not only recognized but is actually WRITTEN INTO THE LAW. Furthermore, because of the fact that these rights are given to you by a higher power, no other human being or group of human beings, whether king, dictator, president, parliament, or congress will EVER have the power to take these rights from you.
    The U.S. Constitution makes no reference to God. The Declaration of Independence makes rather vaguely deist reference to 'natures's God,' 'divine providence,' and a 'Creator.' But remember that the Declaration of Independence is not a document which is used to make laws today. It's a historical document - namely, um, declaring independence from England. Though historically significant, we don't use it to make laws.

    I do see religion mentioned twice in the United States Constitution.

    1. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...."

    2. "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

    I will give you, however, that printed all over our money is the country's official motto. "In God we Trust." This is actually from a line in a popular patriotic song: "And this be our motto: 'In God is our Trust.'" - The Star Spangled Banner. (This was penned in 1812, during another war.) The best part of this story maybe is when this became America's motto. It was actually during the Civil War. You know the one - where it was America vs. America. It was first noted being called out by an infantry in Pennsylvania. They thought that maybe if they declared God was on their side - it would help them win the war, or at least intimidate the other side. So our nation's motto actually was used against other members of our own nation, probably screamed, with bayonets raised. Think about that next time you spend some American coin.

    Luckily for everyone, mottos don't make the laws. There can't be any doubt as to specifically Christian themes in America, however. America is a very Christian nation. This means nothing more or less than that most citizens of America say they are members of the Christian faith. And our elections are democratic, meaning by popular choice, meaning if anyone wishes to win he/she better at least pretend to be a Christian - because most Americans are Christians. So Christianity does play a role in America, yes, but I don't think it was what the founding fathers intended based on the two mentions of religion I see in the constitution!

    Anyhow, further strangeness I found in this post. I'm not sure if you noticed what you did, but you did something quite amusing. You said there's 'no true American' but there are 'true Frenchmen' and 'true Chinamen' (a somewhat pejorative term, though probably unintentional on your part.) This implies there's something in the blood of people living in France or people living in China, or anywhere, except America. Further this idea implies that they are all stereotypical beings living up to whatever generalizations a person has about their countries. Do you realize that other countries have stereotypes about Americans? There is a snapshot picture of us that they get, too. We're fat, we're a little loud, we say our 'R's too hard, we're pushy, busy, entitled, etc. Anyhow, do you think there are true Scotsmen, or no true Scotsmen? I'm having a rough time figuring it out.

    I don't see anyone here trying to hurt anyone. I think you just love your country very much. Maybe it would do you service to figure out exactly what you love about your country, and realize those values are probably just values inside of you. You can proudly say, I believe in God, I believe in freedom, I believe in equality... -- no nation need bind you down. If America broke apart tomorrow, those things would still be inside of you, no matter what arbitrary bit of earth your feet stand on. No matter what flag waves behind you. These are your values and that's something to be proud about.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiBoi View Post
    Furthermore, most of the founding fathers were, I believe, atheists... Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the US a secular nation?
    You need to discern from their writings and make inferences, but in general, the founding fathers were desists and transcendentalists.
    Last edited by AEsahaettr; 21-Sep-2013 at 17:18.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyJessi View Post
    As I heard someone else say earlier this week, I could move to France and learn French, but I would never BE a Frenchman. I could move to China and learn Chinese, but I would never BE a Chinaman. I could move to England, but I would never fully BE a Brit. However, anyone in the world can move to the United States, become an American citizen, and fit perfectly into the wonderful mosaic that is America, and actually BE just as much an American as anyone born here… because really, there is no such thing as an American because we ALL, whether yesterday or by way of our ancestors 200 years ago, came from somewhere else.
    This all depends on how you define becoming that nationality, If someone gets UK citizenship then they are British as far as reasonable people are concerned and generally unless your a racist then you are British. I have to admit, I don't understand where the concept of never fully BE a Brit comes from.

    My only other point I want to raise is the idea that 'there is no such thing as an American' can be said just as easily for England.

    The best way for me to describe this is quote a line from wiki.

    'Migration from what are now the Northern European states has been happening for millennia'

    And to leave you with the idea that from a population of about 63 million, 7.3 million people (11%) are foreign-born people who have come to live here.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiBoi View Post
    Furthermore, most of the founding fathers were, I believe, atheists... Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the US a secular nation?
    They were mostly Deists, not atheists. The constitution pretty clearly does prescribe for a secular nation.

    BabyJessi: If you think having a constitution with provisions limiting the power of government is unique to America, you need to take some history/government courses. "Individual rights" are one of the most commonly used heuristics in the laws of civilized countries.

  9. #9

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    The constitution wasn't exactly perfect when it first came to be (3/5ths compromise, lack of women's suffrage), I think you should carefully read the constitution to see for yourself that we have no claims of divinity or true equality written into it.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiBoi View Post
    Furthermore, most of the founding fathers were, I believe, atheists... Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the US a secular nation?
    Many of the founding fathers were Mansion. The US was not founded as a Christian Nation. Pfoof of this is found in the treaty of Tripoli. Part 11.

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