American exceptionalism

By Tom Quiner

What a country we have.

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:

• 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-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 a 4th of July parade last year. He walked up and gave me a Romney sticker that simply said: “Believe in America.”

I do.

I wish the president did, too.

Today, I celebrate American exuberance and exceptionalism.


  1. Lori on July 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I remember that parade and that sticker. I have a picture in my photo album of my son wearing the sticker on his shirt (while waving an American flag). That was fun.
    Happy 4th! It’s a rainy one down south and we are missing the festivities that go along with our usual celebrations of this great nation.

    • quinersdiner on July 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Here in Des Moines, it is beautiful, especially compared to last year when it was 100 degrees. It’s in the 80s with low humidity. Enjoy the holiday.

  2. JoeC on July 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Quite a leap to conclude that the President doesn’t believe in America.

    • quinersdiner on July 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      I think not.

      What does it mean to believe in America? I suggest it means to embrace American values as articulated by our Founders, and embraced by both parties until fairly recently. Those values were described as “immutable” by the Founders, and included Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The president rejects this creed on every level.

      No, the president does not believe in the same America that our Founders did.

      Thanks for writing.

  3. Shawn Pavlik on July 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

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

    Did you type that with a straight face, Tom? Because that may be how America USED to be…but now we have an ever expanding Federal government, a court system that is downright hostile to the very mention of God in the public square, record numbers of people on food stamps, and public subsistence, and a “me,me” generation that will continue to demand more and more from the providers in America. I used to be an eternal optimist. It was hard not to be; I grew up during the Reagan years. But then we had milquetoast “conservative” George HW Bush who caved to the Democrats’ tax increases which deservedly cost him an election. Then Bill “Scandals” Clinton, who did things that cannot be talked about in polite conversation. Then George “I can spend more than Clinton” Bush. And now Barack Obama….who almost defies description, as IMHO the most unqualified, incompetent, and dangerous president our country has ever seen. How he got re-elected just boggles the mind. The only few “bright spots” in the past 25 years were the Republican sweep in 1994, the 2010 elections, and the fact that Al Gore and John Kerry did not get elected. Bush was not great, but those two would have been almost as bad as Obama. Oh, and another bright spot is that Obama can’t get reelected again. 3 and a half more years with this loser. I hope my country survives.

    • quinersdiner on July 9, 2013 at 7:40 am

      I wrote the description above with a sober face. The battle is to reclaim our exceptionalism. Don’t give up.