You hear a lot these days about “American Exceptionalism.”
By which right-wingers claim America, in every way, is the best country on the planet. Everybody who doesn’t live here is insanely jealous. And anybody who does live here, but doesn’t feel the same way, is not a true American.
Which is totally absurd.
Yes, in many ways, America is, indeed, an exceptional country. Our natural beauty, our spirit of adventure, our traditional open arms, and our proud legacy of freedom and democracy. We’re proud to be Americans.
But, in other ways, we lag behind. We haven’t yet guaranteed all our citizens universal health care, as many other nations have. We still practice the death penalty. We still tolerate some forms of discrimination – especially against gays, blacks, and women.
To truly love America is not to love her exactly the way she is today. But to love her both for what she is today, despite her shortcomings – and to love her for the better country she will be someday – once we finally take the Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights seriously.
Happy Birthday, America!
That’s my parting shot for today.