American Exceptionalism Fuels Republican Obstructionism
“They’re not even informed enough to know what they don’t know.”
Congressman Jim Moran
As near as I can tell, “exceptionalism” is a made up word only found in the phrase “American exceptionalism.” Yet that hasn’t stopped the creation of a cottage industry asserting the mythological idea. Underpinned by both religion and hubris, American exceptionalism argues that the United States is the land chosen by God to enjoy the miracles of capitalism. According to the belief, Americans are a modern day chosen people – sorry Jews; you’re so yesterday — meant to lead the world by divine right. Divine right, of course, is a concept that used to be associated only with kings. Nowadays, it’s associated with morons.
In the ethos of American exceptionalism, we are the best at everything. We have the best health care, the best economy, the best civil society, the most freedom and the greatest opportunity. God made it so. And who are you to question God? Never you mind any facts to the contrary. Everyone knows that only over-educated liberal snobs like to use facts to find the truth.
This belief is a big factor in why Republicans in Congress imagine we can default on our debt without consequences. Because this same American exceptionalism – borrowing from its 1st cousin, Neoconservatism – argues that we can do whatever we want. Who can stop us, after all? We’re the top of the food chain. Everyone else is dependent on us. Screw ‘em!
Did I mention that most believers have never been outside of the US? Never seeing (Or is it never looking?) is a necessary part of any self-delusion.
So here we are at the brink. Many in Congress are ready to renege on paying the debt created by a decade of government underfunding. A sneering Eric Cantor, for example, has voted to spend the money since 2001. Now he won’t vote to pay what he owes.
Republicans like to say that running the government is just like running a household. If so, then this is deciding to default on the mortgage, refusing to move out of the house and saying that’s OK because God says you are the greatest neighbor on the street. You can also forget this whole notion of just paying the interest, like the chronically under-informed Michelle Bachmann likes to argue. When a loan is due, both the interest and the principal are due. Try just paying just the interest on your car loan next month.Continued on the next page