Ten Examples that help define American Exceptionalism

I’ve heard these two words, American Exceptionalism, repeated for most of my life, and it is often used to support the claim that the United States is God’s country. In its classic forms, Ian Tyrrell says, “American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty.”

What does American Exceptionalism mean when we take into account the following facts?

  1. The United States has the largest prison population in the World. China, with almost five times the people, is ranked number two with 74% of the U.S. prison population. Russia is in third place with 29%. One industry where the U.S. is the number one producer in the world, according to Family Media.com, is pornography and 89% of the world’s pornography web pages are hosted in the United States. Germany is in second place with four percent of the U.S. total of more than 244.6 million porn pages.
  2. A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, on the well-being of children in 35 developed nations, turned up some alarming statistics about child poverty. More than one in five American children fall below a relative poverty line, which UNICEF defines as living in a household that earns less than half of the national median. The United States ranked 34th of the 35 countries surveyed, above only Romania and below virtually all of Europe plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. – The Washington Post
  3. The United States was ranked twenty-third in a new report that interviewed more than 146,000 people around the world to rank 145 countries by the wellbeing of their residents. Participants answered questions about five aspects of their well-being: their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial situations, community involvement and physical health. Based on their responses, participants were considered “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” in each of those five aspects. – Live Science
  4. The United States was ranked number one for defense spending in 2015. China was in second place but spends about a fourth of what the US does. Third place goes to Saudi Arabia that spent less than 10% of what the U.S. did. – Global Fire Power
  5. The United States did not make the top ten list for the World’s ten Safest Countries: Spain, Japan, Italy, France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Poland, Bangladesh and China. – Value Penguin.com

World Atlas.com published another Safest Countries in the World list of the top twenty-five, and the U.S. wasn’t on it.

Exposing Truth.com, using the Global Peace Index, listed the 11 safest countries to live in, and the U.S. wasn’t on it.

  1. In 2015, The United States fell to 20th on the Global Freedom Index. According to the Index, the freest nations in the world are, in order: Hong Kong, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom and Sweden. The United States is the only English-speaking country to rank outside the top 10. – Breitbart.com
  2. Cheat Sheet.com reports on the 10 countries that export the most weapons, and the U.S. was number one with 31% of the global market. Russia was in second place. In addition, the United States fields twenty of the largest modern aircraft carriers in the world while the rest of the world combined has a total of 17, and France, number two on this list, has only four. – Global Firepower.com
  3. According to Lists World.com the United States ranks #1 in the world for the most billionaires at 480 worth $2.05 Trillion. China was in second place with 147 worth $380 Billion.
  4. Education News.org reported that in 2015, the United States was ranked fourth on The Most Educated Countries in the World list, but how can be true when there is a movement in the United States—funded by billionaire oligarchs and corporations—claiming that public education has failed and to save America, the U.S. must privatize the public education system from a non-profit, community based, democratic and transparent system and replace it with autocratic, for-profit, opaque/secretive and often fraudulent and/or worse corporate Charter schools. The only country with more high school graduates is Japan, and the only country with a higher literacy rate than the U.S. is Finland.
  5. Transparency.org on the World Corruption Perceptions Index for 2015 ranked the U.S. #16, and Reporters Without Borders ranked the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. The U.S. was ranked #49. Finland was ranked #1.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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15 thoughts on “Ten Examples that help define American Exceptionalism

  1. Pingback: Ten Examples that help define American Exceptionalism | David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education

    • Yes, the challenge is getting enough people active in actually learning about what the government, billionaire oligarchs and global corporations, worth more than many countries, are doing that is not in the people’s best interest.

      But, the people do not elect the president so even if the people were informed and voted according, would it do much good?

      And, with recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the people’s voice, mostly through labor unions, is being muted and crushed while billionaires and corporations are being allowed legally to subvert democracy. When the only voice the people hear is not their own but their charlatan of an enemy pretending to be their friend while stabbing them in the back, what chance do the people have?

    • My response to this idiot would be, “As a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran who served his country to preserve and protect the U.S. Constitution, I know how to shoot, and I will shoot back but Trumps followers won’t see me when I do it. In fact, they won’t even know it happened because when I squeeze that trigger from a distance, that will be the last sound they will not hear.

      Actually, my response wouldn’t be for one of Trump’s foolish, gullible and naive followers—most of them are a lost cause. After all, every tyrant has his or her supporters.

      Instead, my comment would be for anyone who reads my response that hasn’t chosen a side yet, because I think there is a good chance we are on the verge of a bloody civil war between those who would subvert the U.S. Constitution and what it stand for and a form of white colonial supremacist totalitarianism with Donald Trump, or any of the GOP Presidential candidates because as a group they are all poison to the Republic the Founding Fathers built, to become the first dictator for life of the United States of America and that monster will suspend the Constitution and declare Martial Law while stripping the states of their rights, and the U.S. Congress and U.S. Supreme Court of their Constitutional powers.

      The Daily Beast has a post titled “Choose Trump or Choose the Constitution” and the photo shows trump posing while performing what looks like a Nazi salute.

      “This is a time for choosing between our best traditions and our worst fears. If you care about the Constitution, the time has come to take a stand against Trump. If you believe that unity in diversity is a defiant answer to extremism, the time has come to take a stand against Trump. And if you believe the integrity of the Republican Party is worth saving, the time has come to take a stand against Trump.”

      “The appeal of the autocratic strongman is so basic that the Founding Fathers worried that it would be the Achilles’ heel of democracy. The strongman candidate taps into fear and frustrations about the ineffectiveness of government. With rambling speeches that double as populist entertainment, they divide the world into us and them. And with blustery promises that would make a con man blush, they declare that everything will be better for you once they are in total control.”

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/08/trump-s-supporters-can-t-pretend-anymore.html

      With the Internet every fool, every idiot and every psychopath and troll has a voice—a voice that hopefully will be ignored by the majority who vote.

      I want to end with the oath of office for the President of the United States.

      “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      The President doesn’t interpret the U.S. Constitution and do what he wants with his own interpretation—the U.S. Supreme Court does that. The President doesn’t amend the U.S. Constitution—the U.S. Congress and all fifty states do that. The President’s job us to support the U.S. Constitution and that’s it.

      • All I can say is that I agree with everything you said. As a student of history, fanatics have been so destructive to human civilization. I thinks of the millions that died in the last century due to fanatic totalitarians. I fear if one of those jokers win, it will be the end of the US. We will definitely divide into several countries which will make our first civil war look like a local skirmish.

      • Even if Bernie Sanders wins, the country might break apart from civil wars as the new royalty—for instance, Eli Broad in Southern California, Bill Gates in Seattle, the Bush family in Florida and/or Texas, the Koch brothers in more than one state, and the Walton family in several states—takes their fiefdoms out of the United States thanks to the support of the fanatical fools who follow them blindly. Will they call themselves Barons, Kings, or Emperors? I wonder what their coat of arms will look like. We know what Trump’s would look like. It will be a shield with his face on it, and his fiefdom, a small one because he is a poor billionaire compared to Gates, Koch and Walton, will be called Trumpland, and he will want to be known as Emperor Trump until he is crushed in a war with one of the other oligarchs who has more power than he will ever have.

      • You know this, I know it, and where I write at Oped News, everyone has watched the take-over of our nation for a long time, but the ignorance of the people is monumental. Holding 2 jobs, and worrying about whether to pay the rent, or the medical bill or buy food our people spend their only ‘down-time’ watching football and celebrity news. Drug abuse in mainstream populations in New Hampshire shows that people are beyond caring and just want to escape the pain. A beer and a tv remote and the country can go to hell in a hand basket.

        The oligarchs did it by buying the Congress, and ensuring that the people believed the lie –that overriding problem was government spending; they underfunded EVERYTHING, and have caused utter collapse, but nowhere as great as in the destruction of PUBLIC schools. And the lies keep coming– such as the one that we have the highest taxes in the world,– not even close. As Bill Maher said recently, ‘LIES ARE THE NEW TRUTH,” and one can see that in the debates by politicians who want to lead the country as PRESIDENT!

        The liars win because Americans are ignorant and likely to be moreso ,now that the schools are in free-fall, being taken over by the legislatures behind the scenes.

        With 15,880 school systems, and a media that tis totally controlled by the very people you named , our citizens are TOTALLY unaware how fast this is happening. At the Ravitch blog, where the reality of what is happening to PUBLIC EDUCATION (not merely the topic of “schools) if you put legislature into the search field you get a run down of the war on our democracy by ending local control of schools.
        http://dianeravitch.net/?s=legislature
        Local control is essential because parents are the only ones who know if the child is learning, and the voices of the parents can make a difference in a school, when they support the professional who KNOWS WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE, and cannot be fooled by fake panaceas an magic elixirs.
        http://www.opednews.com/articles/Magic-Elixir-No-Evidence-by-Susan-Lee-Schwartz-130312-433.html

        “Reform” killed our schools, because the plan of the Education Industrial Complex ( you will recognize the names, Broad, Gates, Walton Pearson) https://greatschoolwars.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/eic-oct_11.pdf
        was to deform the INSTITUTION of public education so that this can happen… here, read this and SHIVER! http://dianeravitch.net/2014/12/05/north-carolina-plans-to-adopt-koch-funded-social-studies-curriculum/

        Yes, because shared knowledge is the foundation for democracy , and the Koch, barons and kings want to re-write history (and science and ethics and …) http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/winter2009/hirsch.pdf

        The deliberate dumbing down of America http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com actually began in the 1980s when they demonized the ‘real’ experienced teacher-practitioners and threw the professionals out of the schools. http://dianeravitch.net/2015/04/19/anthony-cody-when-teachers-voices-are-silenced/comment-page-1/#comment-2312947

        I know, I was there, a celebrated teacher: http://www.opednews.com/author/author40790.html when the war on teachers (and thus public education) began, so Gates could institute a pseudo-curriculum that does nothing to ensure the LEARNING of real thinking skills but ensures that teachers will be sent packing if kids test badly on the bitter crap that he gives them to memorize. 28 non-educators wrote his Common Core., which has nothing in common with real curricula.

        The people have been bamboozled!
        http://www.opednews.com/articles/BAMBOOZLE-THEM-where-tea-by-Susan-Lee-Schwartz-110524-511.html

        IF YOU wish to hear what GENUINE educators have to say about what needs to be done, go to the NPE conference in April http://networkforpubliceducation.org/category/npe-national-conference/npe-2016-annual-conference/ or follow theREAL education news at: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org

        I will be talking there, about REAL CURRICULA OBJECTIVES for LEARNING, and I will offer a look at the GENUINE NATIONAL STANDARDS RESEARCH in which I was the NYC cohort; so if you are confused by the babble put forth by Duncan and want to know what a curriculum really is, or what must BE IN PLACE FOR LEARNING TO OCCUR the REAL standards for LEARNING, go to this conference or the site of the NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION, for the answer to the liars!

        A reader at the NY Times wrote today, “We have embarked on a more visceral era in which emotion supersedes political discussion. A reasonable argument is no longer enough. Somehow, we must address those anxieties to reclaim the place of reason in our political life. We must abandon the idea that there are only two sides to our politics, a left and a right. Politics becomes something better when we look above the divide and see problems not from two sides but from all sides.”

        Chomsky weighs in:
        http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/16651-noam-chomsky-on-democracy-and-education-in-the-21st-century-and-beyond

        I end with this from E.D. Hirsch: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly,  nor repeated too often,  that the most important cause of our educational shortcomings is not laziness,  unionism,  waywardness,  stupidity,  or any moral fault among the leaders of our educational enterprise. Rather,  it is a system of attractive but unsound ideas. According to Thomas Jefferson,  an educational system that offered equality of opportunity would ‘avail the commonwealth of those talents and virtues which nature has sown as liberally among the poor as rich.’ 

        “Leaders of the public education system should exemplify the highest ethical standard and should hold themselves accountable to the public they serve, ” yet today, the leaders of the system are political hacks, because in every state where the legislature ha usurped ‘failing schools,’ not a single educator is on board a the top of state legislatures. Their agenda is to turn public education over to private industry, like they did health care… and the public is more interested in who wins the Super Bowl!

  2. Why are these on Bloodstock in the Bluegrass? just wondering since that is mostly racehorses. I see and feel all of your points on America. I really do. I get it. I wrote a book about it. I feel it in my soul. I still have hope for something special about the US. If it does not come to pass and I am gone it will be in somebody else’s hands. I have endured the shock of seeing what people want to do to this country and I have a piece of paper and a book that people can read if they have the guts. “The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast”. Best, you have a great blog. Now, can we get back a great country. Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2016 23:43:16 +0000 To: jjanine@live.com

    • Click the links and the countries you mention are often on those lists. I saw Canada mentioned more than once. Some links come with interactive maps that allow you to click on the country to see the data.

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