The abandonment of American exceptionalism -- President Obama said recently that he believes in American exceptionalism just as Brits believe in British exceptionalism and Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism -- will lead to America becoming just another nation. When you no longer consider yourself special, you cease doing much that is special.
Here is the bottom line: I take nothing good for granted. That includes the future of the blessed country in which I live. A country as good as America is an aberration. There is no reason to believe that it will always remain an aberration; and those in power on Thanksgiving 2009 loathe the idea of America being different from all other nations.
Every great civilization has declined. There is nothing that guarantees America will be any different. And those in power on Thanksgiving 2009 see America more as a pompous civilization than a great one. So its decline from its self-perceived greatness is not only not a tragedy, but it's a welcome respite from arrogance.
The idea that people should first take care of themselves, then their family, then their neighbors and then other nations is also an American aberration. The norm, advocated by those in power on Thanksgiving 2009, is to want to be taken care of by the state, have the state take care of everyone else and abandon other countries (such as Afghanistan) to their fate, just as other nations are willing to do.
As it happens, I am in Africa this Thanksgiving, volunteering with my son to distribute mosquito nets and other lifesaving necessities to the poorest of the poor in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Not coincidentally, it is an American charity (Rock of Africa) that has organized this trip. While half a world away, my heart is in America this Thanksgiving. But for the first time, it is a worried and unsettled American heart.
Nevertheless, though my mood is dark, it is not pessimistic. The very narrow victories in the House and Senate on health care reform, despite Democrats' overwhelming majorities in both Houses, tell me that Americans are not ready to abandon the values that make our country unique. And that is something to be thankful for on this troubled Thanksgiving 2009.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”