America was founded on an idea of good governance as stated in the Declaration of Independence — unique in the history of nations. Integral to this was a recognition that all human beings, not just certain groups or tribes, have fundamental rights and dignity endowed by the creator. Human beings with infinite worth should have the freedom of infinite potential. This noble vision was implemented in the real, imperfect world by our inspired Constitution. Limited government that allows people this freedom must be controlled by the countervailing forces in the form of multiple branches of governance, or separation of powers, that tame the corrosiveness of factions that would abuse this incredible freedom.
American exceptionalism is not prideful, but a concept of servant leadership. To whom much is given, much is expected. This principle of universal human dignity, when combined with the safety of two oceans, unsettled land and fairly benign nations to the north and south, manifested itself in welcoming millions of immigrants to realize their human potential as Americans. The great French political commentator Alexis de Tocqueville, as he toured America in 1831, was impressed with our impatience with the status quo. Americans desired progress. We grew mightily and became large enough to have an outsized positive influence throughout the world.
During the Civil War, many countries’ citizens passionately followed the war news to see if the great example of government by the people could endure. Before becoming president, William Taft and his entourage of experts, helped a grateful Philippines establish a good system of government.
War enveloped Europe in 1914, and German-controlled Belgium faced mass starvation as the British navy blockaded Belgium to prevent supplies, even food, from being shipped in to help Germany. While America initially remained neutral, future president Herbert Hoover, through tense negotiations, got Germany and Britain to allow his vast network of volunteers to transport food to Belgians, not Germans. This effort grew to be the largest volunteer organization in history, feeding millions of Belgians every day in the midst of war. A veritable genocide was averted.
The greatest example of America’s exceptionalism is the defeat of the Kaiser’s Second Reich in WWI, the Axis powers in WWII and much of communism during the Cold War.
In 1973 Egypt and Syria suddenly attacked an unprepared Israel. President Nixon braved Arab threats and commenced one of history’s largest airlifts, Operation Nickel Grass, to provide massive amounts of military hardware to save Israel and prevent nuclear war.
Our history has continuously exemplified our collective desire to correct or mitigate our failures and decade by decade, to come closer to what makes us exceptional. No nation in history has sacrificed more blood and treasure to help the oppressed, feed the hungry and free the enslaved. Together we will overcome our current challenges. May God bless the United States of America, the last bastion of hope and freedom, a truly exceptional land.