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October 2016 Brief: Volume 23, Number 30

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American Exceptionalism


By Jerry Hopkins, Ph.D.



In 2005, Kurt Vonnegut published a book titled A Man Without a Country in which he was very critical of the United States. He focused first on the failure of the public school system, saying that he couldn’t be proud of a country with such a poor record of educating its young people and such huge numbers of dropouts. He was illiberally critical of then President George W. Bush, suggesting that he was “so dumb” and clueless as a leader. Vonnegut was an illiberal leftist critic of the country that gave him a platform for what he wrote and said! He didn’t like America even though the nation and its people gave him wealth and success.


In some ways, Vonnegut’s experience and expression was prophetic of what would come with Barack Hussein Obama and his calculated and caustic rejection of the United States. Both Obama and Vonnegut refuse to embrace the exceptionalism of America and refuse to acknowledge America’s positive and salvific role in saving the world from Hitler, the Soviet Union, and other totalitarians. We are witnessing the consequences of such thinking and acting from the writings of Vonnegut and the presidential “bully-pulpit” flawed leadership of Obama. Illiberals are now fully in control from the presidency down to “sanctuary cities.” The silence of what Jerry Falwell and others termed “the moral majority” has, more than anything else, brought us to the awful state in which we find ourselves due to this illiberal onslaught on traditional American values.


American FlagObama has been joined by an elitist, out-of-control Supreme Court. It should be no surprise that the Supreme Court has acted as it has on Obamacare, which has nothing at all to do with our health care, insurance, or medical future. It is totally about control and dictating and dominating individual, family, and corporate life in our nation. The Age of Big Brother is rolling over us because we have not risen to oppose what these people say and do. They feed at the public trough furnished by the taxpayers and insist on taking more and more, benefiting their corporate friends and political allies.


Silence is often the response of those who do not want to confront a hostile foe. They mistakenly think that ignoring the problem will make it go away, but these detractors and foes are not going to go away. They are deadly determined to “change America” into the image and reality that they want, one which will benefit them and allow then to dominate the culture, education, and economy. Perhaps it is not too late for our nation, but a tipping point is fast approaching and we must act and speak beginning right now.


We need to break our silence and speak up about what is wrong. Not only must we speak against what is wrong, we must act positively and joyfully. Americans are the most generous and giving people in the world. We have given billions of dollars to help others and have benefited them in benevolent missions all around the world, providing schools, hospitals, other medical services, clothing, buildings, and friendships. I don’t see the illiberal leftists giving to help the poor and sick in the world. Oh, there are some foundations organized to supposedly help the poor and needy, but when you really look at them, they pay their founders and staff large sums for their “work” and only a little of the billions of dollars ultimately find their way to some benevolent causes.


As Ronald Reagan put it so eloquently, America is a “shining beacon on a hill” which has drawn legal immigrants since our founding. We are an exceptional nation because we are based on a set of ideas rather than geography and tribalism. These ideas are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Illiberal leftists have attacked them through Supreme Court cases, capturing control of public education and dominating the mass media. They proclaim America is not exceptional and that it is no better than any other nation, such as totalitarian North Korea, communist China, or Taliban-dominated nations in the Middle East! If you disagree, turn off your television, your iPhone, and your computer and join the fight to make America great again.


Dr. Jerry Hopkins is a history professor at East Texas Baptist University and a freelance columnist living in Marshall, TX. Contact him at


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