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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/11/20

CALAMITY IN CHIEF: Donald Trump's "Acid Reign" Does Nothing to Enhance the Notion of American Exceptionalism

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Reign Storm - How long would Planet Earth survive after another four years of Donald Trump?

Intelligence alone is not nearly enough when it comes to acting wisely. - Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky

"We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are -- from Seduction of the Minotaur by Anais Nin

"It ain't what ya do, it's how you do." -- Neo-Soul"-recording artist Bahamadia

If American Exceptionalism is truly a thing, then anyone willing to endorse that concept might do well to first consider the ease with which we Americans consistently fail to transcend the depths of our prior shortsightedness.

It could be the Federal Aviation Administration waiting until after a couple of fatal crashes before grounding a particular model of commercial aircraft equipped with a guidance system previously identified as fatally flawed. Perhaps it's the Federal Highway Administration having to deal with the horrifying aftermath of easily-foreseeable bridge collapses caused by an infrastructure that everyone knows to be crumbling. Maybe it's the notion that an American president would -- with no concern over consequences blithely -- assassinate the top military commander of a nation with which we are not at war.

Or perhaps even the bewildering spectacle of Republican lawmakers who -- as if blind to the possibility of a Democrat ever again becoming president -- insist that it's okay for a president, in this case, one who's a Republican, to engage in impeachable behavior .

Call it shortsightedness, myopia, tunnel vision, stubborn obliviousness, some form of chronic pragmatism deficit disorder, or simply all of the above stitched tightly together to form an uniquely America-specific case of "plan continuation bias" -- defined by the American Psychological Association as: a tendency to continue along an original course of action even when that course is no longer viable.

Whatever the case may be, the fact is, no matter where you look, the evidence is abundant. In America, history often repeats itself. Not by chance; but by design.

And it's this reality that makes right now perhaps the most challengingly dangerous period in Earth's history since its Mesozoic era-- the period during which Earth's dinosaurs were rendered extinct.

Guardians of the future?

According to Merriam-Webster's,the term exceptionalism simply means being "different." American exceptionalism, however, tends to be more heartily defined as something along the lines of being "special." It invokes America's cultural, moral and other values as above those of any nation on Earth, a fairly preposterous claim that in and of itself carries an exceptional level of blind hubris. In fact, too often American exceptionalism is characterized from an overtly xenophobic perspective as a sort of spawning ground for a distinctly America Only strain of inspired, responsible social and geo-political benevolence which -- even if lop-sided in its application -- simply cannot be found within any society on Earth.

But if indeed those descriptions truly carry weight, might it not also suggest that it is America's duty to carry out the yeoman's work needed for the kind of growth and enlightenment necessary for the advancement and ultimate survival of human beings as a species? Would it not mean that America's role in the world simply can't be restricted to elevating only that part of the world's population blessed -- if you will -- with residing in America, but to instead significantly aid in the advancement of humanity on the whole? In other words, shouldn't it be that; "it ain't what we do" for the (American) culture, but what we do for the human race as a species?

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)
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