Make America Exceptional Again
These will be the worst of times in so many of our lives and possibly in our country’s history. And we know who to blame.
By Andrew Cotto
Ann Coulter made fun of me once.
It was back in 2014, and she had, apparently, taken offense to my article in Salon.com, My American Exceptionalism Fantasy Is Over, where I argued that — based on two extended periods living in Italy, and looking at 21st century America from Italian experiences and perspective, we were heading towards the same troubles that had plagued them as a nation for as long as anyone could remember. Ms. Coulter, I guess, decided my argument had no merit because I was a Professor of English and an author nobody had heard of. Well, she was right about those things (doh!), but I had it right about America in decline (double doh!).
Look at us. Our government of two parties has one party that has no interest in even pretending that they serve the American people and not their own agenda. They have foregone the checks and balances required of their jobs and have given our blatantly corrupt President a free pass on unconstitutional behavior and overreach, not to mention the obliteration of norms and adherence to the decency expected from the highest office in the land. They have abandoned any shame over being seen as feckless, craven, or hypocritical.
They refuse to admit publicly that the man is simply incapable of doing his job. They refuse to refute the President on his racism, sexism, xenophobia, ignorance, lying, bad spelling, laziness, and countless other offenses he commits on a daily basis. The man mean-Tweets while he should be working; Republicans shrug. The idea of patriotism is lost on all but a few of them and only on occasion. The physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual destruction ravaging our country is not of their concern but entirely of their doing.
And that was the crux of my prediction back in 2014: Republicans in power would destroy American exceptionalism. I wrote the article in response to the midterm elections of that year where Republicans, as they did in the previous Obama-era midterm, seized much power.
The fact that majorities of Americans were turning out for Republican candidates did not bode well for our future since the Republican agenda in the 21st century had been disastrous, marred by incompetence and corruption. As I wrote,
The Supreme Court outdid Bush v. Gore with Citizens United; an entire political party made it their mission to do nothing but undermine a sitting president (not to mention mock, harass and humiliate him) and then blame him for the dysfunction; districts have been redrawn to favor perpetual Republican dominance of the House; despite the recent economic crisis, wealth has been hoarded by the richest of the rich; middle-wage income is stagnant; our infrastructure crumbles; student debt soars while jobs are scarce; the government’s only meaningful action was to shut itself down; established freedoms for women are under siege; no progress has been made on the environment or immigration.
Left out of that passage, but referenced at length earlier, was the debacle of the Iraq War.
And still, I could never have imagined it would get this bad. I could spend all day identifying the depth and breadth of our problems, how far we have fallen, but the fact that Italy (and other countries) won’t let Americans enter pretty much says it all. These will be the worst of times in so many of our lives and possibly in our country’s history. And we know who to blame.
And yet, I have hope. The enormity of all these modern Republican failings has America awake and active (about fucking time). The Democratic ticket is in place, inspiring, and set to make history. The conscientious citizens of America, if we simply organize and vote and demonstrate our majority, can make our country exceptional again.
And then maybe I can go back to Italy. Fine. I’ll take Ann Coulter with me.
The story was previously published on The Good Men Project.