“American Exceptionalism,” Some facts, ruminations and clarifications…


The term “American Exceptionalism” has taken a real beating in our political discourse in recent years, primarily being used by the right as a club to beat the left for believing we should work with other countries and not seek international situations in which to involve ourselves militarily if we can solve the problems with other countries through diplomacy.

The idea of American exceptionalism has a real history.  It is well to know it and to know when it is being perverted or turned to partisan use.

Hole ripped in plane during flight–successful landing–no injuries…remember government evasion?

Just in case you’ve forgotten, when some airline pilots (who have often served in the armed services and received their training) wanted to be allowed to carry guns in the cockpits of planes, one of the first rationalizations the government made for opposing them was that  “a misfire would blow a hole in the plane and take it down.”  Ultimately this among other arguments against the pilots’ request were overcome and now pilots can have guns in the cockpits under very circumscribed conditions and after receiving training in handling firearms.

Now we’ve seen the five foot hole in the passenger jet that opened up during flight as well as the successful landing of that plane involving no injuries.  Does anyone think a bullet hole would jeopardize the plane more than the hole we’ve seen?

My point is that the original position of the government authorities toward the pilots’ request was simply “off the cuff” and untrue.  Assuming it was made in good faith, as I will here as one option, the official speaking didn’t know what he or she was talking about.  Assuming it was not made in good faith, an assumption one may consider to be supported by the regulations established to circumscribe the conditions in which the crew may have a gun in the cockpit, it was a cover for another agenda, possibly just “anti-gun” although I don’t normally think of that position as opposed to guns for law enforcement and public safety, or something else I don’t know.

Is it any wonder people have come to distrust the government?  In matters large and small it is possible to find examples like this one in which government authorities put forth justifications for policy positions that are either easily refuted and disappear only to be replaced by other means of doing as it pleases or seem to hide some other agenda?

I disapprove of almost all the policy stances associated with the Tea Party but I understand how it could have emerged from the myriad government evasions we encounter with some regularity.  Would that the people like myself who have become disgusted by government conduct could coalesce in some organization before the next election!

NYTimes.com: Timothy Egan: The Mirthless Senate

The New York Times E-mail This
Message from sender:
I’m not sure they don’t need comity and comedy but I’ll settle for professional comedy as against their usual amateurish behavior.

OPINION | August 11, 2010

Timothy Egan: The Mirthless Senate
If ever there was a place in need of more comedy, and less comity, it’s the U.S. Senate.

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