WASHINGTON, September 12, 2013 — Vladimir Putin took to the pages of the The New York Times, today. In an editorial titled “A plea for caution from Russia,” Putin wrote, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage a people to see themselves as exceptional.”
Putin is wrong.
America is an exceptional nation. Part of the reason we are exceptional is because we believe that, and until a generation ago, we were taught that.
America is exceptional. Unfortunately, we are stuck with the most unexceptional leader this nation has ever seen.
Our founding fathers conceived a nation with the ideals of freedom and liberty. They could never conceive this nation having a leader who hated it and wanted to see it fail.
They would never believe that this nation could elect someone like Barack Obama.
What Putin — and for that matter Obama, who agrees with Putin on American exceptionalism — do not realize is that Americans are an exceptional people because we believe we are.
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or you cannot, either way, you are right.” Real Americans — Americans who love their country — believe we can. And we did everything possible to make sure we could. We believed we could tame an untamed continent, and we did. We believed we could go to the moon, and we did.
Unfortunately for America, the spirit of exceptionalism has been mostly destroyed. Liberals in education teach young people that not only is America not special, but we are evil. They teach that American wealth is not the result of freedom and free enterprise, but the result of theft and oppression.
In the past we told everyone who came to America, “we don’t care where you came from, you are now Americans. You are not some balkanized subset of Americans. You are Americans.” We insisted that immigrants become Americans. Becoming American was not simply a matter of citizenship. It was a matter of identity.
Immigrants in past generations would refuse to speak their native language in their own homes because they wanted their kids to speak English and become Americans.
President Theodore Roosevelt told the Knights of Columbus in 1915, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”
In their war on American exceptionalism, that is exactly what the left has done. America was exceptional because while we might have disagreements, there were core beliefs that all Americans shared. These were the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Today President Obama and the left want America to follow the lead of the unexceptional nations. Today the left wants America to go from being the bright shining city on the hill to simply another failed socialist state.
Vladimir Putin is wrong. It is not dangerous to tell a people they are exceptional. It is the key to becoming the greatest and freest nation on this earth.
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