American exuberance and exceptionalism

By Tom Quiner

What a country we have.

"Stand up for religious liberty" cap

Quiner’s Diner publisher, Tom Quiner, proudly wears his “Stand up for religious liberty” cap at Yankee Doodle Pops.

I love the exuberant way we celebrate our Independence Day. For me, I go out to the state capital and listen to Yankee Doodle Pops with the Des Moines Symphony complete with fireworks. Tens of thousands gather and sit on the capital lawn and enjoy this old-fashioned way to celebrate.

I take in a Fourth of July parade where my neighbors and fellow Americans revel in our nation’s exceptionalism. Tens of thousands more come out for this tradition.

Did you know that most Americans believe we are exceptional? The Gallup Poll asked us this question:

“Because of the United States’ history and its Constitution, do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world, or don’t you think so?”

Eighty percent of Americans said yes! In their eyes, America is exeptional. Here’s how the survey broke down:

Tens of thousands turned out in 100 degree heat to watch Yankee Doodle Pops and celebrate Independence Day.

• 91% or Republicans said we’re exceptional.

• 77% of Independents said we’re exceptional.

• 73% of Democrats said we’re exceptional.

One can’t help but notice the bi-partisan acknowledgement of the idea that this nation is historically better than others, although President Obama qualifies his views on the subject:

“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

I’m not so sure the president is correct.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 91,000 citizens in 50 different nations a few years ago. It dramatically reveals how differently Americans think about their nation than citizens of other countries think about theirs’.

For example, 71% of Americans are very proud to live in America. But for the French, it’s only thirty-eight percent.

For the Germans, and the Japanese, its only twenty-one percent.

Only one-third of Americans think their success is determined by forces outside of their control. But for Germans and Italians, two-

Tens of thousands turn out for the 4th of July parade in Urbandale, Iowa

thirds think their success is determined by forces outside of their control.

Did you know that three out four Americans would like to see our views spread throughout the world, but only one out of three Brits feel the same about their country?

President Obama either underestimates Americans or overestimates Europe when he talks about exceptionalism.

American exceptionalism is characterized by limited government; fundamental rights that flow from God; self-sufficiency and self-sacrifice.

Mr. Obama must not be attending the events I’m attending with thousands of cheering Americans waving flags. Perhaps his Hollywood buddies just don’t celebrate the way us ordinary Americans do.

Someone from the Romney campaign was in the parade. He walked up and gave me a Romney sticker that simply says: “Believe in America.”

I do.

I wish the president did, too.

Today, I celebrate American exuberance and exceptionalism.