Yes, Washington: Accepting American Exceptionalism

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say America is not exceptional. Dad says, "If it's in the Huffington Post you can boast." Please tell me the truth; is America exceptional? -- CURIOUS IN WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they read on the blogs.

Little minds think alike, Washington. And it has become fashionable among little minds to say that America is no more exceptional than Greece or Bahrain or Kyrgyzstan or Tatooine.

They claim that America is not a force for good, and that the American Dream is a myth. They cannot conceive of a universe in which the United States no longer exists to lead the union of nations or give hope to the human race.

Yes, Washington, America is exceptional. It is as exceptional as opportunity and generosity and freedom. And you know such things abound and give your life purpose and joy.

Alas! how dreary would be the world if America were not exceptional. It would be as dreary as if there were no Washingtons. There would be no torch of liberty, no shining city on a hill, no Channing Tatum.

Not believe in American exceptionalism?! You might as well not believe in immigrants. Do you see the people coming to America by boat and plane and train and foot? (If not, tune into Fox ). They brave the hottest deserts and the deadliest waves just to get a chance at a better life.

You might get Donald Trump to hire men to watch all the border crossings and build the biggest fence in the world to catch them, but what would that prove? The tired and poor will still leave everything behind to come to America.

Washington, America is not exceptional because of how we view ourselves. It is exceptional because of how we are viewed by the world. Oh, they may protest us and ridicule our symbols of commerce. But who do they call when the earthquake hits? When the Euro crashes? When the Putin invades?

Washington, our nation was started by exceptional people. They fled their homeland because they did not wish to be ruled by a kingly tyrant. Instead, they risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to create a new nation, one that traded inherited power for enlightened ideals, such as government by the consent of the people. That took exceptional courage.

Then new people came, escaping famines and ethnic cleansing and workers' paradises that neither worked nor offered paradise, only hell. They came and built railroads and ships and planes and struck oil and invented light bulbs and the telephone and television and the Internet. You say the world is flat, Washington? Well, America flattened it.

In between, we won two world wars that we neither sought nor started. We won not because we had better machines than the enemy, but because we had better mechanics. We won because individual initiative was harnessed to serve a collective cause. We won because we were exceptional.

Yes, Washington, we also committed exceptional misdeeds. We displaced the native inhabitants of the land without due process or just compensation. We imported slaves to do our work, a terrible tyranny on our own shores. We looked the other way as discrimination was institutionalized. We denied women their right to consent to be governed.

And yet, because we were founded on an idea, we had the means to end the madness. We fought a Civil War on behalf of civil rights. And we amended the Constitution to finally protect what the Declaration of Independence promised: that all men (and women) are created equal.

As history progresses, and more wrongs are righted, the United States will continue to lead the way.

So do you still think America is not exceptional, Washington? Thank God! it is, and will be forever. Now get off the Internet and go play.