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.