We are not as good as some people say or think. Look what has been going on since the 9-11. War, bad economy, and ideologues have made us just like others.
We are witnessing the beginning of end of American exceptionalism, if there ever was one. Conservatives and nationalists, who believe The United States is special, different and better than other nations, love to proclaim our virtues and glorify our existence. However, starting from the 9-11 we started to degrade our national values, and the decline has accelerated during last eighteen months. What started as a strong response to a horrific terrorist act has spread in other areas and turned into public rage that endangers everything that is good about America.
The first step of the deterioration was the belief any and all actions are acceptable, even desired and necessary, for security and to fight War on terror. We should fight and win regardless of extent of loss of human life, American and foreign, and monetary cost to achieve our goals. We didn’t stop there. We sacrificed privacy of Americans and compliance of international treaties. That slippery slope descended us into torturing prisoners.
The mosque controversy shows how we have lost our national value system. Now, it is true that mosques have been, and still are, used to promote Jihadism in many liberal democratic societies. Any student of history knows about Muslim triumphalism. However, our response to the mosque should be based on our value system, and not emotional flavor of the day.
The reactions by millions of Americans to building of the Muslim mosque, or cultural center, near WTC site are just the symptoms of where we stand today. The conservatives and others who oppose the mosque frequently assert American Exceptionalism. On the other hand the same ideologues want to subvert freedom of religion and private property rights; two most important virtues of our constitution and system of government. Don’t their words make us just a run-of-the-mill democracy? Do we want to be a Christian nation like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are Muslim ones? We are willing to let go what is fundamentally good about the United States because we don’t want to hurt feelings of some people. What is next? Kill some Muslims because it will make us feel good?
We created the largest middle class anywhere by being ingenious, hard working, and compassionate. Now our schools are failing, and people have become irresponsible and selfish. Millions are suffering because of tough economy, so ideologues and racists have used the opportunity to add fuel to the fire by their venom and bigotry, and turned the pain into fury. Most Americans are scared and angry, but not many ask what I can do to help myself and my country. In other words, we are no different from masses living in any third world nation.
These examples and many more, show how, slowly, our greatness is wearing off. America is, relatively, still a great country. Yes, a little different and better. Definitely not exceptional.