Did God Grant Us American Exceptionalism?

A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found that 58 percent of Americans agreed that: “God has granted America a special role in human history.”  When he was the favorite non-Romney during the Republican primaries, Newt Gingrich said “Obama fails to understand that “American exceptionalism refers directly to the grant of rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence,” and that it is a term “which relates directly to our unique assertion of an unprecedented set of rights granted by God.” 

Doesn’t it scare you just a little when humans interpret the will of God for others – particularly when they have political agendas? Now I know that it’s dangerous to argue with God’s earthly confidantes.  But I’m going to chance it and side with the other 32 percent who don’t believe that God picked us to rule the world.  I think I can say without fear of contradiction that not a single other country on Earth agrees with that assertion.  My evidence: One hundred and seventy-eight million Americans (58 percent) say Yes.  All the other 6.8 billion people on the planet say No. 

Anyway, regardless of what self-appointed divine emissaries tell you, I doubt “He” plays favorites.  Now, I’m not arguing against the belief that our stated values are exceptional.  I think they are.  Even French historian de Tocqueville believed that our country had a unique character.  I agree.

So I concede that our stated values and our erstwhile character are exceptional.  Here’s my concern: They are principles toward which we should continually strive.  But we don’t demonstrate them consistently. And in the last several decades we’ve lost our way with regard to our character.

A case in point: The main goal of our two major political parties is to make sure they get enough money from corporations to be re-elected. The main political goal of corporations is to own as many politicians as possible. The main combined goal of both entities is the continuity of the system. I know that sound cynical but indulge me for a bit longer.

All the stuff about the American dream and the land of opportunity is a level four simulation – that’s the kind designed to convince people of a reality that doesn’t exist – think Disneyland here. It was a wonderful story while it lasted but the in last three decades, it has all but disappeared with the middle class.

Some will think me overly critical of our country.  The simple-minded will call me a traitor and urge me to “leave if I don’t like it”.  The close-minded won’t even read this far.  But some folks will and recognize the ring of truth here. 

Belief in our supposed exceptionalism lulls us into complacency on a planet with several emerging countries vying for the same finite resources. But not to worry, we think we’re exceptional and for insurance, some of us are convinced God made us this way.

I can’t think of a more sacrilegious act than putting God into our political miasma. Do the 58 percent really believe that an omniscient and omnipotent God could somehow be a part that mess in D.C.  Or that “He” would condone our growing levels of homelessness, imprisoned, hungry, and destitute citizens? Not to mention the forty million plus who we are still trying to deny decent medical care.  

It is a major sin to claim that “He” has given us the right to meddle in anyone’s business for our own purposes.  I think it would be a major achievement if we could run our own country. It would be an even bigger accomplishment if we could develop a social conscience that at least matches our desire to police everyone else on the planet. It might even make our budget problems a little less onerous. Oh well, don’t worry God gave us a sequester to handle them.

Robert DeFilippis 

Author: The Blue Route

What say you, the people?