The Things That Make USA Special
Wednesday - November 04, 2009
After a trip to Australia, I’ve decided the best part of the country is the people.
Aussies have a unique laid-back attitude as characterized by a couple of their common phrases: “No worries, mate, she’ll be right!” or “I’ll shout ya for a beer, mate” ... meaning “Let me buy you a beer.”
They also have quaint words for some of their more-common dayto-day items such as “cossie” for bathing suit (bathing “costume” - a little British carryover there), “sunnies” for sunglasses, “nappie” for diaper - not to be confused with napkin, and “breckie” for breakfast. A man is a “Bruce” and a woman is a “Sheila.”
In general, Aussies have a sort of devil-may-care attitude, possibly a carryover from their historical roots, a country founded as a penal colony. As you likely know, as a part of the early British Empire - upon which “the sun never set” - the Brits banished their prisoners and neer-do-wells to the land “down under” just to get them out of their way.
Just to get their goat over a round of Victoria Bitters (“VB”), it’s always fun to remind them that if George Washington and his band of brothers hadn’t been making trouble in the American colonies, they could have just as well been sent there and would now be “Yanks.”
In fact, we Americans and the Australians have much in common, except for one thing which most Aussies seem to regret: patriotism.
Having spoken in Australia a dozen times or so in the past 20 years - most recently just last month - I always talk about the importance of having faith in our country, especially during my years as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, but more importantly on a daily basis right here at home. Inevitably, after every engagement there (and in Canada as well) the most common feedback is: “You know I really admire the sense of patriotism you Americans have for your country. We seldom sing our national anthem and never pledge allegiance to our flag. I wish we had more of that here.”
When I hear comments like that, it makes me feel that much more blessed to be an American. Indeed, in the world of nations, America is exceptional. That’s why we have the term, “American Exceptionalism.”
But what does that really mean? American Exceptionalism simply means that America is unlike most other countries in the world, and there are several reasons.
1) Americans shed their own blood for independence from a repressive monarch.
2) America is the only country in the world founded upon an idea rather than men’s ambitions.
3) America is the only country in the world founded upon Judeo-Christian values, which form the foundation for its legal system.
4) America is the only country in the world founded of the people, by the people and for the people.
5) America is the world’s first constitutional democracy.
6) America is the only country in the world in which the people’s freedoms are guaranteed by amendments to the Constitution: our Bill of Rights.
7) America is the country in which capitalism and the free enterprise system have resulted in the world’s highest standard of living.
8) America is the most-free, most-open, most-tolerant country in the world.
9) America has fostered the most-ambitious, hardest-working, individualistic, self-reliant, anti-government, pro-legal immigration, philanthropic, community minded people in the world.
10) American culture - for better or worse - has influenced more people across the world than any other country’s.
11) America’s nuclear deterrent - it has been estimated - has saved more lives than antibiotics.
12) Americans have shed more blood for other people’s freedom than any other people in the world.
Ironically, President Obama is on record for acknowledging that - given where he started - he couldn’t have ascended to the presidency in any other country but America.
And yet a few months ago, at the Summit of the “Group of 20,” when asked if he believed in American exceptionalism he responded, “I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
In other words, America is no more exceptional than any other country!
He is absolutely clueless about this country over which he “presides.”
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