Alexis de Tocqueville’s observed that America is an “exceptional” nation among nations. It is concepts such as patriotism, individualism, religiosity, the spirit of enterprise, and a Constitution that emphasizes decentralization, individual rights, and an inherent distrust of government authority that make America exceptional. Unfortunately, few on the left believe that American is exceptional, unless they believe it is exceptionally bad. In fact, President Obama and his fellow liberals believe that America is a nation that must be apologized for throughout the world.
During Viet Nam and in the years after, America-bashing became the favorite sport of the left. Aided and abetted by the liberal media, the left cast America as the bad guy in every scenario since the founding of our country. Nothing America did or had ever done was good, noble, or worthy. Then came the Jimmy Carter administration—four disheartening years in which a radical Iranian Mullah was allowed to treat the United States like a dust mat—and Americans were left with the feeling that not only was their country weak and powerless, it was impotent.
Finally, after the malaise years of Jimmy Carter, Americans elected a president who believed in our country and believed in them: Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan quickly went to work challenging the left and its America-as-the-bad-guy mentality. He reminded Americans that theirs was an exceptional country, the most exceptional country that ever existed. He showed Americans, once again, that they should view their country with pride as a bright, shining city on a hill.
This, more than anything, was the key to Ronald Reagan’s success as president and his enduring popularity with Americans of all stripes. Reagan showed Americans that they should be proud of their country and, in turn, proud of themselves as Americans. Instilling pride is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a leader. Consequently, any individual who wants to be president of the United States should not just believe that America is an exceptional country, but understand what makes America exceptional and be able to articulate that understanding. His failure to believe in America and articulate why it is exceptional has been one of the worst shortcomings of Barack Obama as president.
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging America’s mistakes and failures over the course of its history, but there is something very wrong with acknowledging only the mistakes and failures while turning a blind eye to America’s accomplishments, contributions, and essential goodness. Worse yet, there is something hypocritical and deceitful about portraying some of America’s most important contributions, good deeds, and successes as evil. I believe Barack Obama should have either apologized to the American people or resigned when his wife said words to the effect that until her husband was elected she had never been proud to be an American. Instead, he has spent his time in office demonstrating over and over that, like his wife, he does not believe that America is an exceptional country or even a good country. In fact, he has demonstrated that he believes just the opposite. This is not what is needed in an American president.