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Admitting The Dark Aspects Of US Exceptional-ism
by John Jazwiec

US Exceptionalism is often a blanket positive term purporting that the US is the greatest country on earth. But "exceptionalism" is rather a state of being, where the US is an exception from the rest of the world. The word exceptional is not only defined as extraordinary - which is rather opaque - but it is mostly defined as uncommon, unusual and atypical. 

Many aspects of America being the exception are positive. The US has the greatest universities in the world. The US is the longest serving democratic republic in history. The US has the greatest history of immigrant assimilation. The US - through its DNA of being entrepreneurial and risk taking - is the source of popular culture and innovation exportation.

But the US has some rather striking exceptions that are negative - 

An inherent mistrust in its federal institutions. This republic and its constitution was formed within the fault lines of states rights and the Second Amendment to enforce it. The genesis was a compromise to deal with slavery. Although slavery was abolished, nonetheless many Americans still have a mistrust in the federal government and feel they need to arm themselves. I know, on my own account, twelve people who have armed themselves with more fire arms than the Vegas mass shooter. They vary by intelligence, socioeconomic conditions and professions. What they do have in common, is second cabin homes, in the wilderness. They are less concerned with personal safety in their normal day-to-day lives - although they do - than they are about the federal government taking their rights away. Their rights are not just about guns and rifles. They are about the complicity they see in the federal government allowing a more "brown" country and the threat they see from the federal government locking them up for hate crimes if they defend their belief that this country must remain a white Christian majority. They fight for gun rights, because they are prepared to retreat to their cabin homes, and fight a war if necessary. The Vegas shooter wasn't unique at all because he had 47 firearms. But he was unique in that he used them proactively. My twelve wouldn't do that. But they would call the NRA and demand such an event doesn't abridge their cache of defensive weapons. You want to know why nothing gets done after mass shootings in this country? That is why. No mysterious force. Just unremarkable people who might live next door to you. Nonetheless, that makes this country an exception.

A mistrust and lack of curiosity about the rest of the world. Worry about a Korean war? Many Americans don't pay attention to world events. It doesn't occur to them that the enemy isn't the federal government. It doesn't occur to them that another enemy could blow up their city by a nuclear bomb. They might not know about the rest of the world, but they also don't understand why there needs to be world-wide cooperation. The roots of this are historical. The US has always seen itself as another separate world unmoored and untethered to the rest of the world due to its geographic isolation. That makes America an exception. 

Knowledge of religion comes before knowledge of anything else. Many Americans make the US exceptional in terms of the vigor of their religious view of the world. No country has so many people that believe the earth is 7,000 years old. No other country teaches their children in school, unscientific facts that are inconvenient to the bible. You wan't to know why so many Evangelicals and Church-going Roman Catholics voted for and support Trump? Its all about the Supreme Court and abortion. 

Donald Trump and the people who wonder why someone so unfit was elected and remains in office have to admit that American Exceptional-ism includes these three world-wide exceptions to the norms of the rest of the world. 

Thus, Trump is the defender of many American's view that the federal government is the enemy. Trump is the defender of gun rights. Trump is the defender of an isolationist America that doesn't care about the rest of the world and the potential kickback ramifications of saber rattling. Finally, Trump is the defender of white Christian sustainability and rollback. 

Only 35% of Americans approve of Trump. But I know some of these 35%. So do you. They live among us. They always have. They are the dedicated descendants of over 230 years of the dark side of US Exceptional-ism. They are baked into this country's DNA. 


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From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

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