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LINK America Was Ripe For Humiliation  | Above the Law

Our failure to contain COVID-19 exposes American exceptionalism as untenable. It’s also an opportunity for us to become a better country instead of deluding ourselves that we’re the greatest.

HippieChick58 9 Aug 1

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Correct analysis


Very well-written article,, under the right leadership, we could, as you say, consider it an opportunity. We'll see how Biden ''reads'' it.


From a foreign perspective, I think this is right. Were I to draw on my Hegelian studies, I might conclude that American contradictions have finally reached a breaking point and we see it happening. Truth is, America has never lived up to its ideals, but no Empire does. But, the macro changes over the past half century have pressed America's fault lines to what we see now. These trends include globalization, the decline of manufacturing, the corrupt finance sector which has grown in response, and neoliberal economics which has pushed the totally corrupt Republican party into authoritarianism. America had fooled itself into thinking its exceptionalism was doing well, and that it was strong -- an illusion fueled by a bloated military, a corrupt finance industry, and myths about its superiority. But Trump pressed all the political and legal pressure points, and that illusion of strength crumbled. COVID pressure stressed America's health and government systems, and they have been found wanting. It's tempting to think that had Trump not been elected all would be well. This is false. Trump is an effect, not a cause, the result of systemic decline, and an inability of the US to adapt to the 21st Century, instead of resorting to self delusions. Obama could have been the reformist Presidency America needed, but he simply wasn't what he promised to be. We know who followed him.

Obama was thwarted at every turn by a Senate determined to make him ineffective. This isn't an's a fact. There are so many roots to this problem!

I concur with everything you said. After WWII, America was on a high. They came out of the war in better shape than its European counterparts. Because of the war preparations the manufacturing sector was well devloped and strong unlike the situatioh in Europe or Asia. The circumatances were ripe for the type of expansion and innovation we experiienced.

The Cold War against the Soviet Union gave us a reason to maintanin the societal cohesiveness that the country acheived during the war. It gave citizens a common enemy and an impetus to strive, innovate and continue to push the limits of the possible. This was fuyeled by the JFK era and the space race . Once we reached the moon we were convinced that nothing was beyond our capability.

But this ideaism of American exceptionalism experienced a number of challenges to follow. First the fallout from the Vietam War and the NIxon Persidency debacle created the first bit of corrosion and tarnish to our concept of ourselves. Despite this we still held onto our illusion of superiority and being better than the rest of the world.

But underneath someting had changed, a self-centeredness had crept in the the national culture. The "me first" hegemony had began to pervade the social mentality of the American culture after Vietnam. This culminated in the 2001 bombing of the Twin Towers. Prior to that the average American believed that they were impervious to attacks from the outside. That we were both invincible and untouchable. The Twin Towers dispelled that fallacy and the culture turned paranoid, suspicious and exceptionally cynical of all authority. We were no longer the Imperial Kingdom on the hill that was unassailable and impervious and we could no longer trust our leaders or world leaders

Our advances in computer technology and the successes coming from Silcon Valley gave us a small bit of respite and reinforced a little our myth of American exceptionalism, despite the fact that manufacuring sector of our society was crumbling and failing all around us. Riding the coat tails of the post-war era we were becoming intellectually lazy and materially complacent. There were still some great innovations coming out of the country, but the average American had turned intellectually complacent and outwardly self-centered in all aspects of their lives.

This paved the way for the Trump phenomenon. American society totallyly distrusts any authority or leadership agency. The average American no longer trusts the agencies that created the society that brought them as far as we are. The society rejects reason and logic and science. We have fallen behind most Western countries in all aspects of education and we have seen our percieved place in the world erorded and unrecognizable.

We were not any more exceptional than any outer culture or country. We were just in a better position to apply the same type of ingenuity and skill to innovation and discovery. Following WWII others were not in a position economically able to exploit until the last couple of decades. if nothing else, the last two decades have shone a light on our decadence and intellectial complaceny.

The minute (literally) that the Republicans regained the majority in the Senate the second half of Obama's first term, Mitch Mcconnell, the Tea party and the Freedom Caucus openly proclaimed that Obama would get no legislation passed whille they was in office. The "Do Nothing Republicans" lived up tp their promise fpr the most part.

@t1nick Well-written! I do believe a majority of us still believes in the basic principles of the ''American way"....and wants the fairness, cooperation and compassion expressed therein. I'm an optimist. (Do I hear giggling?) We WILL get through all this madness and we WILL have a chance to rebuild and get back on the track we THOUGHT we were on.


Sadly enough I am am optimist too. may not sound like it. lol Trump has dented some of my optimsim some though.

@t1nick what about Obama's first term, when he had 4 years to seriously reform America? Why do you think progressives in America feel that his campaign in 2007 was based on an illusion of change? Those of us outside the US feel the same. So will history. @LucyLoohoo

@t1nick, @LucyLoohoo in his second term

@David1955 Don't think Obama didn't make progress because he did! He was enormously popular because of his ''down to earth'' manner, his easy way of relating to people, his health care package, his environmental successes, etc. Then the GOP-led Senate announced he'd never, EVER pass anything logical, popular or even patriotic. And they stood against him.


Two years. Democrats lost control of the Senate two years into his first term. I don't know if you remember, but he was busy trying to pull us out of the Great Recession brought on by the lack of Republican oversite of investment speculation.


I concur.

Indeed, and that was the time to press the reform button, like FDR did during the Depression. As I recall, he continued to bail out Wall Street, failed to prosecute those responsible... but the progressives in America are better than I in describing the litany of things Obama did to bail out the guilty while doing actually not very much for the rest. I like Obama as a man, and he's an impressive person, but history will judge his Presidency as a lost opportunity, a failure to live up to the 'change' agenda he sort of but didn't really promise, with the result being millions swinging to Trump. I'm just thinking like a historian would and many already do.


Perhaps, but he had powerful enemies within the government working against him from the beginning. Others before had enemies as well. But race was not an issue with them. With Obama, IMO much of the opposition and obstruction was race related, regardless of what rationalizations his opponents give.

Perhaps only Trump has more enemies within and without the government. But unlike Obama he brought them upon himself.

@t1nick I entirely agree on the question of race. That's why the Steve Bannons of America, and others like him, found Trump and put him there. Obama becoming president, and a popular one, frightened them into doing anything to prevent further non white presidents. I have always thought Trump was a front man for those right wing white nationalists.

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