The Death of American Exceptionalism

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American Exceptionalism
And who killed it? We did.

I was wrong. I was totally, completely, unforgivably wrong. I utterly failed to understand that America is not a beacon of light and hope as I have believed all my life. I lived in my East Coast liberal bubble and truly thought we as a country were better than Donald Trump and his racist followers. We are not.

I woke up on Tuesday with a heart full of hope, feeling pretty good. I went down to North Philadelphia with a friend and knocked on doors all day. Every person in this low-income neighborhood said they were voting for Hillary Clinton. I thought, well, so much for the pundits predicting apathy from African Americans!

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I woke up on Wednesday as though someone close to me died.  I’m not ashamed to say that I cried on and off all day. I cried for the loss of my innocence. I cried for the rise of the racist alt-right. I cried for the accepted bigotry. I cried for the rewarding of the nastiest, meanest, bully by making him President of my United States.

dear-aliensI truly believed, as I told everyone who asked: Americans are not this stupid. That we are a pragmatic group, that we will right this sinking ship and do the right thing. I was wrong.  We are this stupid. We are not going to do the right thing. At least 46% of voters didn’t even bother to vote. Note to non-voters: shut your mouth for the next four years. I lay this debacle squarely at your feet.

We used to be proud of our American Exceptionalism. It’s what we were known for the world over. It’s why people were desperate to live here. We are not exceptional in any way. We are lazy, greedy and not worthy of anyone’s respect. I think this realization hurts the most.

Ronald Reagan called America a “shining city upon a hill.” No more: we are the crumbling crack house in the isolated warehouse district that no one in their right mind goes near. We have shown the world who we really are. We are racists, sexists and bullies. We hate non-whites, we hate non-Christians and especially we hate Muslims. We like sexual abuse: it’s funny! We enjoy mocking disabled people. We relish grabbing women by the pussy and love to forcibly kiss them. We eschew education — no time for fact-checking! We allow men to get away with absolutely the most despicable behavior yet judge and punish women for the same actions. We crucify one woman for an embassy attack that could not be stopped yet all of these attacks happened.

We are not a tolerant people. Citizens voted in a man who will actively seek to strip all the hard-earned rights from our LGBTQ friends and family. He will strip a woman’s right to make medical decisions for herself. We reward mass ignorance by putting a massively ignorant man in the highest office in the land.

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We like a bullshitter better than a flawed, yet policy driven, female. Apparently as long as you tell us what we want to hear, you win the Electoral College! Hey, those jobs are not coming back, you fools. Coal won’t win the day anymore. Learn a new skill, please.

300px-shining_city_upon_a_hillWe now know that Americans don’t give a flying fig about the climate and the health of this planet. We want to pollute our air, water and ground with oil and fracking. Screw those hippie wind farms! Drill in the National Parks! Hell, let’s build a goddamn Trump Hotel in Yellowstone or right under El Capitan!

As I received condolences from around the world on Wednesday, I cried for the White House. I cried for the dirtying of the Oval Office. Sarah Palin is back. Gingrich and Giuliani — the Stadler and Waldorf of Republican politics — suddenly have relevance again and even the totally corrupt Chris Christie will probably get a cabinet post. Trump doesn’t care; he likes a man who got away with a sick revenge plot. Remember, Trump admires a strongman.

We voted in a man who will be the most secretive, anti-press President in history. You think that Hillary Clinton was less than transparent? Trump will literally paint the White House windows black and then sue any media outfit who dares criticize him for doing that.

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The idea of that man sitting in the Oval Office when he does not understand the job nor care about the gravity of the office nor the humility it takes to sit in that chair makes me sick to my stomach. He is not good enough for America and neither are the millions of cowards who voted for him.

I will leave you with one last fact — the irony of the Reagan quote about the shining city. The man who first coined that phrase, John Winthrop, hated democracy and loved totalitarianism.

Sound familiar?