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So Long to American Exceptionalism

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/18/so-long-american-exceptionalism


Excellent, thought provoking article. It made me contemplate all of the spreadsheets now at work for investors of private prisons, the medical industrial complex, Big Ag, etc., that are reducing this pandemic to the “it’s not personal, it’s just business” mindset. That is the American tradition from which we the People are excepted from benefiting but are tarnished with the shame on the world stage. Very few Americans have this self awareness that most all of here at CD possess. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, but in my mind it is also sin.


Not everyone has to fit it into a religious concept to understand it, if it helps you to consider it a sin then that is ok. For others that is part of the problem. Everyone has self awareness those of us at CD need to recognize that.

Actually, I am secular and have always been so. “Sin” for me is still a useful word in my worldview absent the heaven and hell paradigm. I see sin as being something done against what ought to be.


Interesting. I see “something done against what ought to be” as behavior or something more akin to cognitive dissonance. Skinner would probably say that it excludes one from reinforcement. Evidently what ought to be is the question and how far the exclusion goes before it becomes a spiritual issue. (not necessarily a religious issue) As in “original sin” terms.

Yes indeed. Karen Greenburg is deep (like the folks in this forum!) Well-structured insights which brought to mind, for me, that horrible thing from the Dandies:

The Dandy Warhols, Welcome to the Third World

USA is exceptional in how rapidly we’ve plummeted from “the world’s sole superpower” to sorry spectacle, “Wuhan of the continent” as Central Americans call us (while Canadians hold their tongues). Only in USAmerica could so many folks respond this outbreak trajectory with a yearning to turn it up. We’ve been stuck at around +400K cases every two weeks. We should be capable of 500,000 in two weeks – a million a month – if we put our minds (?) to it.

A brief history of (national disintegration and) USA COVID-19 cases (latest CDC numbers):

> WEEK    14 DAYS             CASES
>         ENDING          NEW       TOTAL
>   2.  01/25/2020           1           1
>   4.  02/08/2020           9          10
>   6.  02/22/2020           4          14
>   8.  03/07/2020         260         274
>  10.  03/21/2020      24,308      24,582
>  12.  04/04/2020     280,243     304,825
>  14.  04/18/2020     416,617     721,442
>  16.  05/02/2020     402,527   1,123,969
>  18.  05/16/2020     344,456   1,468,425

Oh my.

When herd immunity becomes herd mentality, who gets the cow bell?


A wonderful mantra for my morning meditation. Thank you.


From Fintan O’Toole from The Irish Times:

(Good article but he doesn’t fully cover how we arrived (via $$$ fueled duopoly) to the time of trump)

"Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.

However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful."

Here is one of the comments following the article:

I was born in South Asia but have lived in Canada my entire life. I have always been blissfully happy to be Canadian but even more so during this pandemic. Health care is free, there is guaranteed protection for those who lose their jobs with government cheques, and by and large people have followed the rules. In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, there were maybe a handful of people that protested in Toronto and they were literally laughed at, including by the Governor- equivalent of the province (Premier Ford).

All this to say I grew up thinking the USA was this amazing place - rich, powerful, together. Now that I’m in my 30s and can see behind the curtain, all I see is a deeply divided nation with no agreed identity and issues with basic fundamental rights like Healthcare.

The worst thing is that the voices in the right keep getting stronger and louder. Not sure what will happen to the states in the next 20 years but Trump has legit made them into a laughing stock.

Despite all its military might and economic power, everyone truly pities the States.


American exceptionalism = a chimera promoted by those in power that under the harsh light of morning after a night (or in this case many nights) of foolishness has evaporated in the morning light.

Maybe now, heavy on the maybe…we can become something better. Something real and in tandem with the rest of Creation. The opportunity beckons.


When he ascended the throne in 1981 Saint Ron redefined Murkin Sepshunalizm to mean accelerating the fortunes of the 1% at the expense of the 99%.


“And, as it was in the beginning, ever shall it be at the end!”

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That the United States of America , has represented one of the “good guys” has always been more myth than reality. It was an illusion created from the very beginning when those Pilgrims got off the boat claiming the new lands as theirs and promised to them by their god. That myth making went on for the next 200 years, through slavery and genocide, through mass lynchings of their own to coups sponsored in Countries on every corner of the globe, from mass slaughter of civilians with atomic weapons and firebombing to the crimes committed against the peoples of Vietnam and Iraq .

It is a Country that has been at war through 90 percent of its History. It was rarely one of the Good guys. That just myth making and it time to set that nonsense aside. It not only “good” that the peoples of the USA set aside that myth, it good for everyone on this globe to do so.


Project Syndicate has an interesting article concerning the future of the dollar’s supremacy by Benjamin Cohen. With Trump’s endless bullying other nations, America First policies, and America’s hugely piling debts, our influence in the world is dropping and may drop a great deal.


And there will be few tears shed, if any, by the rest of the world once American Exceptionalism is re-defined as American bullying. We just can’t allow other countries to live life the way they want to. No, we overthrow legally elected governments, steal resources. force people to convert to our state Christian religion, and bow to the Corporate elite. First book that jumps to mind is Confessions of an Economic Hitman. As for our current mess, it’s been carefully planned by those ubermensch who devised The American Century at the University of Chicago, but who really reverted to the Old South Plantation economy. A few chosen men to rule the rest. No unions, no public education, no health care, no safety nets. But a whole lot of money funneling up to the Elite. Oh, and no taxes for the rich, but enough for the poor to fund the military.
I personally will dance on the grave of The Old South, er, American Exceptionalism, once it’s really, truly, finally dead.


Lindsay Graham: " I want to fight the enemy in their backyard…not ours."
I got news for you Lindsay, the enemy is in America’s backyard and we need to fight them here! Because You, Trump, Mitch and the whole rotten, fascist, Republican Party are to me, the enemies in the backyard of my country!


Trump’s America First policies are a canard. It’s equivalent to vampires becoming so numerous, there’s no one left to keep up a necessary fresh blood supply. That’s a very unlikely scenario. Vampires wouldn’t be so short sighted.
So, we’ll all supposedly prosper by first donning a MAGA hat, paying $40 bucks to get it all started? Then, just watch it magically roll in by letting him lead this rebirth. This winning?
Not even close, of course.
America’s 1% vampires need to keep the rest of the planet somewhat healthy, prosperous and productive. A live human blood bank, of sorts.
Convincing the people of S. Korea, Mexico or Iraq , for example, they are actually " stakeholders " in a piece of the future Great American Empire, is his best canard of all.
Trumpster People, like the man himself, would pulverize, and then " bounce the rubble " as Herr Goldwater put it, if they sensed a hint of disloyalty coming from the subordinates in those aforementioned countries. All defeated, but not all dead. We need their continuing contributions to the supply chain. Even a real blood supply chain.
Trumpster-minded folks will use nukes, etc., if they have to, to maintain their positions. I’d guess the Romans would have also, were they an available option, back in the days.
As COVID-19 shows, in Trumpster People’s world, chasing the mythical MAGA past, sometimes requires sacrifices. Other people’s sacrifices, of course, not theirs.


George M. Cohan was a jingoistic nationalist, just like Trump. Here’s what Eugene Debs thought about WWI. His comrades in all the countries of Europe also knew the war was about bankers and aristocrats. By the way, the French general staff welcomed the American troops because they saw them as useful cannon fodder to replace their troops who were dying in massive numbers because of the flu pandemic.



Fantastic. Thanks for that. I love Fintan O’Toole. His running ironic commentary on Brexit was priceless.


And our bullying has grown into terrorism. Aren’t we a proud nation.