Day: July 18, 2019

American Exceptionalism

The term “American exceptionalism” has been bandied about by politicians, pundits, historians, and others with increasing frequency. Attempting to catch up on the latest atrocities against democracy and the rule of law, I’ve been thinking a great deal recently about the term: how it was used throughout history and how it has become weaponized in our divided political culture. The phrase may have originated in the 1830s with the first great observer of American life, the French political scientist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville, but the meaning has changed over time. Some people simply see America as “better” than other countries; that our experiences, products, and lifestyle choices are all “the best.”  Those who take this simplistic approach in claiming American exceptionalism clearly have not seen: Modern Japanese toilets* Healthcare in just about any developed country other than the U.S. High-speed train travel in Japan, Germany, and yes, even Spain, which makes us look like a third-world country** Infrastructure in most modern countries vs. the crumbling infrastructure of the U.S. (recently given a D+ grade) The statistics …