Category Archives: American Exceptionalism
Rather, they have taken it upon themselves to pretend that the old Testament God who gets mad enough to kill people is still in charge. They believe that the same false god inspired the U.S. Constitution and formation of a military order of soldiers who are to be primarily warriors for His Son.
Do not be tempted to take their spiritual opinions, advice and counsel as gospel my child. America is not God’s chosen weapon of vengeance nor enforcement of a freedom all over the world that would be won with blood and at the gunpoint of a self-righteous American exceptionalism.
America is not the home of modern versions of medieval crusaders who plundered, raped and killed while believing that God and Jesus wanted them to do so.
America is not the home of generals whom God has ordained nor has Jesus authorized to kill indiscriminately in His name.
Never will America be commanded to blow them away in the name of the Lord.
Never will you be legally authorized by any officer or non-com to commit murder or any atrocity as your duty to God and country.
If you commit such acts you will be guilty of shedding innocent blood and will not be able to blame it on the moral cowards who commanded you.
If you fall into that kind of pit I encourage you to make immediate contact with a wise civic and moral mind who might try with you to do whatever it takes to protect your life, your integrity and your soul.
Unlike those military liars, genuine Americans cannot nor will not ever demand that you blindly accept their own moral judgments in place of your own.
Unlike those military liars I CAN promise you that you WILL be accountable for blindly accepting as some sort of duty and obligatory response to the foolish evangelizing they believe they have the power to force on you.
There ARE people in and close to the military who will back you up should you ever have to stand up to your officers and noncoms who want you to believe they can punish you for ignoring their religious attitudes and practices.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
MRFF recognizes that military life requires individual adherence to shared patriotic principles. MRFF also recognizes the need for military personnel to at times temporarily relinquish some Constitutionally granted personal freedoms for the sake of military discipline and objectives.
However, MRFF believes that religious faith is a Constitutionally guaranteed freedom that must never be compromised, except in the most limited of military circumstances, because of its fundamental importance to the preservation of the American nation and the American way of life.
Additionally, MRFF adheres strongly to the principle that religious faith is a deeply personal matter, and that no American has the right to question another American’s beliefs as long as they do not unwontedly intrude on the public space or the privacy or safety of another individual.
Therefore, MRFF holds that:
No religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy.
No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to conform to a particular religion or religious philosophy.
No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise.
No member of the military may be compelled to curtail – except in the most limited of military circumstances and when it directly impacts military discipline, morale and the successful completion of a specific military goal – the free exercise of their religious practices or beliefs.
Students at United States military academies are entitled to the same Constitutional rights pertaining to religious freedoms and the free exercise of those freedoms to which all other members of the United States Armed Forces military are entitled.
No member of the military may be compelled to endure unwanted religious proselytization, evangelization or persuasion of any sort in a military setting and/or by a military superior or civilian employee of the military.
The full exercise of religious freedom includes the right not to subscribe to any particular religion or religious philosophy. The so-called “unchurched” cede no Constitutional rights by want of their separation from organized faith.
It is the responsibility of the military hierarchy to ensure that the free exercise of religious freedoms of all enlisted personnel are respected and served.
All military personnel have the right to employ appropriate judicial means to protect their religious rights.
I praise you for your willingness to serve our country.
If you are thinking- challenged and haven’t found something popular to be mad about, how about your neighbors who don’t speak English?
There is nothing dumber than the statement that “My immigrant ancestors had to learn English and these are no better.”
Those immigrant ancestors who managed to learn English did so as a matter of expediency, need and genuine willingness to adapt and enter our society. They did it as the wisest practical solution – and not because candidate and pundit fat heads made tough speeches about forcing people to learn English and requiring the government to print no forms in anything but English.
It almost makes you wish that some particular immigrants – those whose descendants have become unreasonable jingoists or mindless bigots – had not come here back then.
The American Dream might be more alive and well rather than a nation’s biggest lie.
… as if speaking English then entitles immigrants to the total respect of all the angry white folks who think Fox News is fair and balanced
… as if those viewers – demands met – would then welcome anyone who is “not-U.S.” to be with “U.S.”
Those immigrant ancestors who did manage to learn English (and there were many more who never did) didn’t do so because American jingoists (I know that’s a big word for people entirely raised or entertained by four-letter English words) refused to talk to them.
I was asked once to teach a conversational Spanish class for business and health care persons in the local community college. Class never got held because enrollers were too few.
Fifteen years ago, through my Episcopal parish, we started an ESL (English as a Second Language for all you English-speakers who get stuck after 4 letters) primarily aimed at local Hispanic families.
When the number of those who signed up reached 46 the college saw $$ in fed funding and actively started recruiting me to turn the class into a college-based course. Local immigrants wanted to learn English but had to balance the demands of a local job market and economy. This in an area of high unemployment where many English-speaking white folks refused to work for minimum-wage labor in seafood canneries that support the entire community.
I remember my Russian classes at Syracuse University in 1969. Our teachers were mostly White Russians or their descendents who fled the USSR at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. Most if not all were degreed and still spoke English with a heavy Slavic accent.
In fact, because I could already speak Spanish, my Russian grammar professor laughed and told me that I spoke Russian with a Spanish accent, not an American accent.
You know, Russian has its own alphabet with more letters than in the English alphabet. Russian is expressed with words whose spelling and pronunciation are changed depending on what are called declensions: the variation of the form of a noun, pronoun, or adjective, by which its grammatical case, number, and gender are identified.
I didn’t know what a declension was til Syracuse and I thought the Russian was impossible project for me.
Consider the following:
There is nothing dumber than the statement that “My immigrant ancestors had to learn English and these are no better.”
Written in Russian: Там нет ничего глупее, чем утверждение, что “Мои предки иммигрантов изучать английский язык, и они не лучше”.
Transliterated (using English letters to try to pronounce the above statement): Tam net nichego glupeye, chem utverzhdeniye, chto “Moi predki immigrantov izuchat’ angliyskiy yazyk, i oni ne luchshe.
My point was that my Syracuse instructors were far more educated than most Americans, yet they insisted that English was much harder for them to learn than Russian would be for us. They did it but not under an insane and bigoted threat of deportation if they did not. And we as a nation are all the better because of our immigrants regardless of their language.
Because of their perseverance brash young military students in 1969 who qualified for the Russian course in the first place by getting higher aptitude scores than most citizens of this country were capable of achieving became bilingual Cold Warriors. Why? Because immigrants came here and were allowed opportunities to become citizens, to contribute and to receive benefits from our American dream.
Which causes me to express the idea that our citizens’ weak abilities with their own language is embarrassing. Such is much more a national shame than whether or not our immigrants learn English at all.
More of the immigrant problem lies not with the immigrants but in the hearts of sons and daughters – both elected and unelected – who are descendants from immigrants, but who seem to think that every one of THEIR particular ancestors learned to speak English via some sort of divinely jingoistic American osmosis.
I might suggest that we should make it a law that all Americans who do not learn to speak English correctly and effectively should be imported to places where their language laziness wouldn’t matter … although for the life of me I can’t conceive of a place where they wouldn’t become English-speaking moochers.
Weep with me Ethel … We ain’t in the lead car in the parade anymore … and the millennials are on to us. What do they know that’s smarter than what we think we know?
The presidential election of 2016 has not involved a public policy debate as much as it has chronicled the ongoing struggle of Donald Trump to resemble a sentient and literate human being. As he continues to fail, it becomes increasingly clear that the reality television star, and his group of goblin advisors – Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Steve Bannon – represent the last gasp of the white conservative baby boomer.
Throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the straight white male boomer’s story enjoyed cultural hegemony. To live as one of these men was to have an all-access VIP laminate around your neck, and a lifetime permission slip in your pocket. You could view and treat women as toys for your personal amusement, denigrate gay men as freaks fit for the circus, and stratify men of other races into a category of inherent inferiority. Life was good for the white male boomer, but suddenly it all started to end. Uppity blacks started to demand liberty and inclusion. “Nasty” women began to assert themselves as equals, and LGBT people demonstrated themselves to be “normal” folks as capable of achievement and decency as anyone else. Each morning the conservative white boomer wakes up realizing that his story matters a little less than it did the day before.
Faced with the erosion of their cultural power, coinciding with their own mortality, conservative white boomers could adjust and adapt to reality, keeping an open mind to new developments, while welcoming the diversification of American institutions, still cognizant of the amazing run of prosperity and influence they enjoyed. Or they could throw a temper tantrum. Most of them, already detached from the real world, opted for the latter.
Argue with this all you who buy the noble BS we’ve heard and were taught for most of our lives. The noble BS is explained professionally as “blaming the victim.
Oh Say Can You See Are You Ready for Some Hard Truths About the Birth of Our Nation? Brace Yourself
Political activist and writer, Frank Joyce, has published an insightful writing at Alternet that pokes holes in our standard and stereotypical way of perceiving and celebrating our day of independence.
Perhaps the best script for how we in our stereotype understand our national “Day” is the one most of us memorized in grade school …
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
However, begins Joyce, there was much more to the Declaration than just those words.
Far more attention was dedicated to a long list of grievances that the founding fathers had with the King. One of them was that the British were in cahoots with, “the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages.” Another complaint which didn’t make it into the Declaration but was included in a precursor document, the Virginia Constitution, complained that the British were “prompting our Negroes to rise in arms against us…”
Our colonial and rebellious forefathers were more about self-interest – as they should have been and we would have wanted them to be – than establishing the noblest experiment in democracy the globe had ever seen.
Joyce includes a Thomas Jefferson quote that I do not recall ever having encountered in school or reading (much of my reading is rapid and rarely involved taking notes and filing away special discoveries). Jefferson does not seem to have been letting slip a communally-kept forefather secret as much as expressing a sentiment quite common at the time.
Thomas Jefferson himself said as much in his account of the Declaration of Independence, “The clause too, reprobating the enslaving the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the importation of slaves, and who on the contrary still wished to continue it. Our northern brethren also I believe felt a little tender under those censures; for tho’ their people have very few slaves themselves yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to others.”
We sound noble now with our speeches, songs and fireworks because our focus is a sense of national unity on why we are special now when back then we were only working on establishing a system and memory of budding special-ness.
And this … about which we ought not feel indignant to learn … but mature to address and recognize rather than continue a pattern of using soft white-wash to cover an image painted in grit and grime.
As a relevant side note, the National Anthem has its own dirty little secret. Composed during the fight with the British known as The War of 1812, its third stanza is virtually never sung today. As Ned and Constance Sublette explain inThe American Slave Coast—A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry, there is a reason for that. The last part of that stanza is:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star Spangled Banner” lyrics, was himself a slave owner and hard core white supremacist.
Not to shame ourselves, but then, not to congratulate ourselves on an overarching nobility that has no basis in fact and denies the honesty and authenticity of original priorities that mostly drove us toward what we are today.
The Pentagon’s Carbon Bootprint
The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries. According to its FY 2010 Base Structure Report, the Pentagon’s global empire includes more than 539,000 facilities at 5,000 sites covering more than 28 million acres.
The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn’t include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%). In 2012, oil accounted for nearly 80% of the Pentagon’s energy consumption, followed by electricity, natural gas and coal.
Ironically, most of the Pentagon’s oil is consumed in operations directed at protecting America’s access to foreign oil and maritime shipping lanes. In short, the consumption of oil relies on consuming more oil. This is not a sustainable energy model.
The amount of oil burned—and the burden of smoke released—increases whenever the Pentagon goes to war. (Indeed, human history’s most combustible mix may well prove to be oil and testosterone.) Oil Change International estimates the Pentagon’s 2003-2007 $2 trillion Iraq War generated more than three million metric tons of CO2 pollution per month.
If we are so exceptional and God’s gift to the planet why
… do we have Corporations Hoarding $2 Trillion in Profits, Asking Taxpayers to Pay Their Employees’ Wages?
… do we mourn American Lives, But Not Foreign Lives?
… do we Care About Unborn Children, But Not Living Children?
… do we Demand Self-Reliance of People Who Can’t Find a Living-Wage Job
… do we Turn Away People Who Were Displaced by Our “Free Trade” Pacts?
American ‘exceptionalism’ exists in the minds of super-patriots who are more than willing to overlook their own faults as they place themselves above other people. The only question may be which of their self-serving hypocrisies is most outrageous and destructive.
Cause we’re wonderful … and the rest of the world could and should drink our bathwater … and respectfully thank us for it.
Doubtless you have heard more than once the term “American Exceptionalism.” It implies, in short, that we are somehow special, different, superior. We are the “city upon a hill” whose freedoms and accomplishments set us apart. Alexis de Tocqueville coined the phrase midway through the 19th century, and it has enjoyed constant deployment by politicians and pundits ever since, because it lights a warm bulb of self-satisfaction in many bellies … and people feeling good about themselves are easier to convince. Salesmen thrived on this axiom before Babylon’s bricks were laid.
The “greatest nation on earth” and paranoia spiced with a sense of victimhood. We aren’t able to be grownup about who we are.
If you look at the country whose top politicians hardly mention without defensively wielding the words “exceptional” or “indispensable,” the exceptional thing is this: as a great power, the United States still stands alone on planet Earth and Americans can exhibit all the paranoia