Like any patriotic American, says Matt Miller at The Washington Post, "I love my country." I "cherish" the fact that America is different. Unlike most countries, America was founded by people who came together from all over, and united behind "the ideals of liberty, equality and self-government." But, while patriotism has its place, suddenly conservatives, led by Sarah Palin, are assailing President Obama for his "alleged indifference" to "American exceptionalism" — as evidenced by his so-called "apology tours" overseas. Running around proclaiming that America is "the greatest country ever invented" doesn't make us look strong, says Miller. It just makes us look "needy." Here, an excerpt:
There's something off when the first generation of Americans that is less educated than its parents feels a deep need to be told how unique it is. Or that a generation that's handing off epic debts and a chronically dysfunctional political process (among other woes) demands that its leaders keep toasting its fabulousness. Especially when other nations now offer more upward mobility, and a better blend of growth with equity, than we do — arguably the best measures of America's once-exceptional national performance.
Wouldn't it bolster Americans more to be told that we can meet the challenges of this moment? Wouldn't we be better off striving to be exceptional at solving our common problems?