Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Decline of American Exceptionalism?

 A recent Op-ED by Charles M. Blow in the NY Times, titled "Decline of American Exceptionalism" opens with this paragraph.

"Is America exceptional among nations? Are we, as a country and a people and a culture, set apart and better than others? Are we, indeed, the “shining city upon a hill” that Ronald Reagan described? Are we “chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world” as George W. Bush said? 

This year for the first time Americans did not say yes."

The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project found that 49% of people agree that " our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior." This is the lowest percentage since 2002, the first time the poll was taken.

A Time magazine survey found that 71% of Americans believe that our position in the world has been on the decline in the past few years.

NBC/Wall St. Journal survey found that most Americans believe that we are " at the start of a longer-term decline where the US is no longer the leading country in the world."

The author says, "We are settling into a dangerous national pessimism."

WOW! My attention was caught by the broad spectrum of research that supported the same basic perspective. I also saw the normal American pattern of big pendulum swings: from overly optimistic evaluations of the American way of life to overly pessimistic evaluations of the American way of life.

In either case action is required. When we're overly optimistic we still have to be planning how to sanely maintain the good life. When we're overly pessimistic, we also need to act in ways that may move us forward to sane rebuilding of the good life — even if that life is markedly different from the past good life. Problem-solving thinking comes next for me. What do I need to do to move to the middle ground of reality from pessimism? Thanksgiving will help I'm sure! How about you? Did this post motivate you or drag you down?


Here's the link if you want to read the whole article.
Decline of American Exceptionalism?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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