American Exceptionalism

        American  Exceptionalism?

 Before entering High School my father enrolled me in a class taught by two University seniors. The class was entitled History you won’t learn in school. Since, I’ve had a different view of American history. Many historians, the likes of Howard Zinn have filled in all that has been omitted in our text books.

 Lies My Teacher told me is one of the latest books on this subject. “James Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institute surveying twelve leading high school textbooks of American History; what he found was an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages.”

 The following won’t be found in a text book or in the media. Michael Kinsley, a frequent guest of the late William Buckley on his program Firing Line makes the following statement; “The notion that this country is divinely sanctioned with a special mission in the world has become a litmus test for patriotism. The theory that Americans are better than everybody else is endorsed by an over whelming majority of U.S voters.”

 Waving a flag is fine but remember it’s only a symbol and we must be aware that a country doesn’t progress unless recognizing that they may not have the happiest people in the world. Compared to Third World countries we are superior, but the past is deteriorating while many other countries are passing us economically, in energy, infrastructure and other areas.

 None of this is simple incompetence. For decades we have seen social services-education-policing-public healthy-environmental protection-and infrastructure steadily declining from tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate greed and military spending. For half a century free market purists have denigrated the essential role that government performs as some terrible liberal plot. Politicians have duped lower and middle classed whites into believing their economic pains are a result of too much government while corporate profits and CEO salaries soared.

 Part of Real America came back into view during Katrina, but has now faded into the sunset. Watching the haplessness of a permanent underclass of Americans living in New Orleans’s ghettos is shameful. Even before the hurricane they lived in rotting housing complexes, attend ill equipped schools, and lacked adequate police protection. This section of American life is duplicated in most large cities today. Politicians and the voters disregard the underbelly of society. The rest of the population is creeping into this same category.

 Help for the indigent is vilified by using the word Socialism. The Americans receiving socialism are the top 2% with their subsidies, lobbyists and tax loopholes while the rest are like employees of Wal-Mart enjoying, the free enterprise system. Waiting for Obama’s administration to save these potential victims, while playing games with the child like congress, is synonymous to looking for pie in the sky.

 If Americans want to flaunt their flags they must provide something besides food kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters to aggrandize our country. I commend those volunteers that provide these essentials for the needy to which I donate. This doesn’t provide the dignity that humans need for a healthy esteem of ones self and others.

 I was too young during the 30s depression to be humiliated by soup lines and charity, but am aware of what this does to those in this situation. Those of us still living without charity and a roof over our heads can be oblivious to those other humans, but something in our political system must be changed if we want to glorify our country and please don’t use the words freedom or liberty as an excuse. History proves that change comes from the bottom up.  In the 30s and 40s the Labor movement challenged corporate power; giving us pensions, the minimum wage, the 8 hour day, unemployment insurance, workplace safety laws, and a living wage.

 Before you shout socialists it must be noted my family and I were leaders in the movement to create the middle class. I have learned from these experiences to recognize the rights of other, My concerns don’t meet the litmus test of a patriot, but one’s views are a product of  one who wants to go back to the real America.

 Fredrick Douglas said; without struggle there is no progress.  

 Note from Don: I think I’m feeling well enough to write again. I want to thank my granddaughter Angela for filling in when she had time as she i9s an excellent writer. 

 

  

 

 

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3 responses to “American Exceptionalism

  1. Glad to see you back writing! I agree that if we honestly want to be seen as a great nation, we should be paying attention to all of our citizens. It seems we are most preoccupied with the elite class.

  2. Also, thank you for the note at the end. I always appreciate being a contributor!

  3. I may be duped, but I have some hope. In the election it was the battle cry of the Republicans that the money used for our social needs as well as our infrastructure was wasted and needs to be done away with on a grander scale as we build up the military, reduce regulation, and keep the tax rates low for the rich. They did make an argument we have heard before with the need to appease our “job creators”, however the public did not go along with it.
    I have some hope with Obama now that he doesn’t have to get re-elected. Also some of the newly elected congress seem to have some guts for a change. I have even seen workers striking again, as though they have some power in life. I do have some reserved hope that the country will rise to the challenge.

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