Edgar Allen Beem appropriately asked whether America is the greatest country in the world. “American exceptionalism” is not a popular notion these days. We do seem to be racing “from first to worst,” to borrow a phrase often used in sports journalism. Why? Considering the sports analogy, when once-championship sports teams go downhill, the reason is usually found in two factors: first, they get a feeling of invincibility, and second, they forget the fundamentals which made them a champion in the first place. America has committed both of these errors.
We feel that we can not lose our moral, economic or military superiority, despite lessons from history which say otherwise. And we have lost sight of the founding principals which permitted this “David” to defeat the “Goliath” of that day (Great Britain) and to go on to forge many victories, and to become the great shining beacon on the hill to which many peoples looked for hope – and found it, either in coming to our shores, or when we came to theirs and liberated them. These same founding principals can guide us back to greatness, or can continue to be mocked and left on dusty library shelves. The choice, and the consequences of our choice, are both ours.