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Local Voices: American Exceptionalism

We are a special people and place. No need to apologize.

As the current political season heats up, I'm hearing more and more about the arguments for and against our belief in America's special place in the world.

It seems our President's need to apologize for our ability to become the most economically, politically and militarily powerful nation in history is surpassed only by the progressives' (read: liberals) need to tell him he's not gone far enough. They seem to feel we need a President/candidate who embraces world citizenry as much as the U.S. electorate. These enlightened folks seem to think our country is structurally flawed. I don't believe we have anything to apologize for!

As mentioned, economics, politics, and strength are what made and hold our place in the world. And all of these are founded on a belief in freedom and the sovereignty of the people. In 1831, Alexis De Tocqueville said (you probably read him in English 101) that the sovereignty of the people is appreciated, studied and applied to all the affairs of society only in America. We have been and continue to be the only place where success is measured by the man, not the circumstances.

I'm aware of recent research that would suggest that those who start out on the bottom rungs of society have a harder time achieving. What's new? Those conclusions don't mean we've failed. We just need to continue to work harder like we've always done to make sure the opportunities flow to all equally!

How about locally? We have an abundance of successful small businesses here in South County run by owners and employees that are determined to weather the current difficult economy. We have residents that remain dedicated to the idea that family plus faith plus schools are the ingredients that make for a thriving community. And those school systems, both public and parochial, work to draw in all facets of that community to create intelligent and contributing adults. There is a reason why so many of our children return to South County as adults to raise their own families.   

As part of the Mehlville Board of Education, I take pride in the fact that we continue to provide an excellent education for our youngsters while closely guarding the dollars spent.

Nationally and locally we are a country defined not by limits, but by freedom and personal sovereignty. As outlined in the Bill of Rights. As fought over in every war including Vietnam and Iraq.

I won't join those in our community who seem to focus on what we haven't accomplished. I'm proud of where we've been and where we're going. There's a reason why those words on the Statue of Liberty still speak to people throughout the world.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Karl Frank Jr. January 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
How great that you quote a French political thinker and philosopher when you speak of our national awesomeness. I can't help but think of the America that existed when Tocqueville said this. It was still legal for people to own other people. Black people, constitutionally, counted as 3/5ths of a person so the Slave States could have more representation in Washington. Women did not have the right to vote. Free black people were not allowed to vote. Most of the country did not even exist. However, there was plenty of xenophobia, nationalism, and self-importance. Nothing has changed there. I'm very thankful for America's progress since Tocqueville spoke, as well as the democratic progress throughout much of the world. What makes America exceptional is it's system of government, otherwise it wouldn't be any different than any other classification of people and their system of government. People can't help where they are born and the socio-economic status that they are born into, but the system of government makes a huge difference in relation to where they may end up. Case and point, imagine Warren Buffett's status today if he were born in North Korea. Trade North Korea's government for our government but keep the people the same and see what happens to our "exceptionalism."
Karl Frank Jr. January 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! A perfect day to recognize America's "exceptionalism." http://mehlville-oakville.patch.com/articles/in-mehlville-the-n-word-still-exists - for the record, I didn't censor the my language. It was an editorial decision and I respect that...
Tom Diehl January 18, 2012 at 10:08 PM
President Obama never has apologized for American exceptionalism.

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