Donald Trump and the death of American exceptionalism

Donald Trump and the death of American exceptionalism

America First is the emptiest of all mantras, every bit of evidence strongly demonstrating that Donald Trump’s actual policy is Trump first.  In all things.

It’s been Trump first over America’s national security, over the murder of a Washington Post journalist, over the health of our planet and over the very existence of a free and democratic Ukraine.

American exceptionalism is a concept shrouded in confusion, ambiguity and misconception.  It is a phrase that has been long misunderstood, misused and cast upon a heap of abandoned slogans and bumper stickers.

A too-erudite definition would say that American exceptionalism is based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, republicanism, democracy and laissez-faire economics.

Note that in the above definition, republicanism and democracy are juxtaposed, not mutually exclusive.

Because of the unique experiment that is America, we have a duty to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Not only are we, as Americans tasked with the preservation of rule of the people here at home, but just as importantly, with supporting that notion around the world.

American exceptionalism is an idea and an ideal; a goal and an aspiration.  Those dreamers who comprise the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) immigration policy enacted by President Barack Obama are the very embodiment of that noble idea.

American exceptionalism has nothing to do with being number one and if it did, we would be exceptionally unexceptional.

America, as it turns out is number one in areas that are not very coveted positions.

We have more total people in jail than any other country and a higher percentage of our citizens incarcerated. We pay more for health care and drugs than citizens of any other country.

Our military spending is greater than the next ten nations COMBINED and most of that money buys obsolete weapons made by powerful political donors.

We have the highest percentage of fat people, the highest percentage of drug users, the most divorces and more student loan debt than any other country.

We also have the most total guns and highest percentage of gun ownership. Yay!

In categories where being number one is a good thing, like most livable country, education, longevity, happiness, health care, infant survival, etc, America doesn’t even break the top ten.

American exceptionalism has nothing to do with slogans, bumper stickers, campaign rallies or chants of U-S-A, U-S-A.

Everyone loves their country, not just Americans.  Go to France, Greece or the Philippines and you may find citizens more exuberantly patriotic than any gun-toting cowboy looking for them roaming buffalo.

When idiots like Tucker Carlson say that Putin doesn’t hate America as much as Liberals do, he’s just stirring the pot of resentment, doing Putin’s work for him.

Loving America has nothing to do with your position on abortion, same sex marriage, universal health care, climate change or any other issue separating Left from Right.

Like two parents who love their child, but envision different futures for that child, we are all Americans who love our country, but envision a different future for our children.

America is still beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.  Even if trade wars make it impossible for farmers to sell that grain.

American exceptionalism is about INclusion and opportunity.  Trump’s America is about EXclusion and self enrichment.  Two different visions of America, but one of them is the exact opposite of everything that has made America great.

Trump’s vision will be the final nail in the coffin of American exceptionalism.  It will be a triumph for the oligarchy model of governance.

A triumph for Vladimir Putin.

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