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The American Exceptionalism Myth and the Selling of U.S. Domination

The American Exceptionalism Myth and the Selling of U.S. Domination

I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.

– Barack Obama, 2015.

From birth, Americans are expected to believe in the notion of U.S. superiority over other peoples in other nations.

The daily school ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag and playing the national anthem at sporting events—whether the Super Bowl or a neighborhood swim meet—is a given. Americans are taught that they are intellectually, socially, economically, and morally superior to any other people on earth. We believe that we place a higher value on life than others do.

Most Americans are unaware of the amount of human suffering the U.S. government has inflicted on others throughout the world, especially post 9/11. We are incessantly told it is our duty to support the troops and our leaders who invade, bomb or otherwise intervene in other nations. The motives offered might be to stop genocide, to take down a maniacal despot, or to spread democracy and American values. Our government purportedly acts with reluctance as well as with compassion, respect for others, and good intent. We are told that the troops keep us safe and help spread the American way of life to a needy world. Why? It is because we are “exceptional.”

September 11, 2001

We are told the United States was brutally attacked by Al-Qaeda on 9/11. That it happened in real time, on our soil, live in our living rooms, made it seem even worse. But the real horror lay in the loss of the 2,977 victims.

Our response to this abhorrent crime should have been that of a just, democratic society, acting on the rule of law. Instead, it was completely out of proportion, becoming barbaric and grotesque. Yet our response was justified by those who believe that an American life is more valuable than the lives of all others.

The response

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