There is no denying it: America is the greatest country in the world. We are blessed with unparalleled freedoms and boundless prosperity that for generations have inspired an innovative and industrious people. America is exceptional.
American Exceptionalism is the standard that our laws reflect the understanding that we are afforded certain God-given rights that can never be taken away. We know that God, not government, bestows upon us these inalienable rights, and because of that, they must not be compromised by the whims of man. This makes us a unique nation, a nation that remains, as President Ronald Reagan once said, “a model and hope to the world.”
Unfortunately, some politicians have either forgotten or chosen to ignore the glory of our founding. In April 2009, President Obama told a reporter in Strasbourg, France: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In saying this, the president implied that American Exceptionalism is nothing terribly special and instead simply chalked it up to the romanticism of patriotism.
Americans know better. We see American Exceptionalism not as an empty cry for nationalism, but instead, the blessings of God that keep our nation strong, independent, and free. We see the American story as one of tenacity and triumph, not as one inherently flawed and in need of rewriting. We recognize the times we have stumbled but are assured that it is not due to weakness of our foundation, but instead, the imperfection of mankind.
Most importantly, conservatives see America as exceptional because of our shared belief in the dignity and creativity of the individual. We know that it is innately human to work, to risk, and to dream. We understand that these virtues, coupled with the conditions American Exceptionalism provides, allow us to enjoy the economic and social mobility that other countries envy. Liberals lament that such success wasn’t guaranteed.
At its very core, progressivism rejects American Exceptionalism. Progressives view the Constitution as a roadblock, as they seek an unlimited federal government with more authority than the states and more power than the people. Because they strive for a limitless federal government, they are willing to sacrifice the rugged individualism that has made this nation exceptional in exchange for the collective salvation they believe a vast government provides. And the darling of the progressive movement is, of course, President Obama.
“Let me be clear,” President Obama: America is the greatest nation on Earth. We are not just any other nation, and we are certainly not analogous to our friends in Europe and elsewhere. Our exceptionalism is forever ingrained in our founding documents that spell out exactly the roles of the federal government in relation to individual rights and states’ rights.
Truth is eternal, and simply ignoring the truths of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution won’t make them go away. And frankly, there are enough Americans, including me, who love it and our country far too much to allow our exceptionalism to be bartered for further expansion of an already out-of-control federal government.
Herman Cain is a corporate executive, radio talk show host, and syndicated columnist from Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Cain previously served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of Kansas City and as the president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. In January 2011, Mr. Cain established a presidential exploratory committee.