By Tom Quiner
President Obama suggests that American exceptionalism is based on our “policies.”
He misses the point. Our policies flow, imperfectly, from our values that define our character. Our values were expressed in the Declaration of Independence, namely, that every single human being is entitled to immutable, God-given rights of Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The president and his party reject these foundational values and work overtime to counter them with their European-style policies. America’s exceptionalism flows directly from these foundational values.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, nonetheless publicly bristled at Mr. Obama’s use of the word “exceptionalism.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Putin lectured our president that using that word is dangerous talk:
“I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
Mr. Putin needn’t worry. Obama revealed his real feelings about our so-called exceptionalism in his first term with this quote:
“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
In other words, exceptionalism is in the eyes of the beholder. It is a subjective, not an objective, measurement according to Barack Obama.
The Gallup Poll reveals otherwise. They 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% of 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, despite President Obama’s misgivings on the subject.
It seems the rest of the world disagrees with our president, too.
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, values Mr. Obama apparently rejects based on his policies and rhetoric.
President Putin, I don’t think you need to worry about your American counterpart. You two are more aligned than you may realize when it comes to the subject of American exceptionalism.