I asked Charles Krauthammer why. He said, “if you listen to [President] Obama’s speeches, you’d think we’re exceptional in how many sins and crimes we’ve committed through the ages—that’s what makes us exceptional.” President Obama famously underlined this point by dismissing American exceptionalism as being no different than “the Brits believ[ing] in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believ[ing] in Greek exceptionalism.” He then traveled to Japan and bowed down to their emperor. And, when asked to define ‘victory’ over those who used planes as weapons to attack this generation of Americans, President Obama said “I’m always worried about using the word ‘victory’ because it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur.” Managed decline, relativism, and weakness have replaced exceptionalism in the Oval Office.
Democratic President Roosevelt wasn’t “worried about using the word ‘victory.’” He vowed that “the American people in their righteous might” would rise up and “win through to absolute victory,” and, in doing so, begin the American Century.
Now, at what may be the end of the American Century, we have a choice to make. We can either re-embrace American exceptionalism, or “take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
As Ronald Reagan said in 1974, “we cannot escape our destiny nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall in Philadelphia…We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.”
That last best hope is running out. The time for this generation of Americans to embrace our “righteous might”—our American exceptionalism—is now. In the coming weeks, I look forward to exploring the theme of American exceptionalism with you through this column and through your much-valued comments.