by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, July 27, 2017
With Donald J. Trump systematically dismantling our political and government institutions on a daily basis; the Republican party doing everything in its power to leave the most vulnerable open to catastrophe; and the Democrats pretending to be the party of the people while selling out to the same corporations, it’s convenient to think that we’re doing real damage to a country built on public norms, common decency, freedom of speech and respect for your fellow man.
Nothing could further from the truth; that is simply the lie we’ve been telling ourselves all these many years. The myth of American exceptionalism.
The truth is, America has a long history of racism, bigotry, and misogyny. For all our talk of freedom and democracy, many times throughout history, we have put aside the rule of law in favor of fascism in the guise of security. We have censored free speech, we have jailed dissidents, we have suspended habeas corpus, and we have allowed free citizens to be murdered without trial or cause. We have violated every precept of what we claim we stand for. Every one.
The moral high ground that the United States has assumed is a farce, and is the cause of much consternation in the international community. It’s something we were taught in schools, and reinforced in the mythology of our founding fathers. The government and the media have been a constant source of support for this narrative. We are constantly told America is exceptional. The greatest country on earth. Whether it’s a movie, a country song, or the halftime show of the NFL. America is a great country, we are told. Or at least it used to be.
The truth is, almost none of that is true. America is a paternalistic, white supremacist, xenophobic country, and always has been. Democracy in America has been an interesting experiment, but we continue to fail as a society to allow everyone access to the so-called American Dream. The dream, of course, is that anyone can achieve success through hard work. That’s just another part of the American myth. It’s not accurate.