There was recently a controversy in the press and the blogosphere over the term “American Exceptionalism.”  In a speech President Obama gave on September 10th at the White House, in which he made the case for intervention in Syria, he used that term in his speech.  It was in the last paragraph of his remarks, and he used the term in order to make an appeal to common moral values that American’s share.  Although he wasn’t very precise in how he was defining the phrase, which is part of the reason for the controversy, by the context of his remarks, he seemed to be saying that “American Exceptionalism” is about caring when people are suffering and making an effort to help if it is within our means.  On the following day, in a New York Times op ed (opposite the editorial) piece, Vladimir Putin published an unprecedented letter to the American people, apparently in response to Obama’s speech, arguing against any unilateral intervention by America in the Syrian civil war.

Of course, Putin’s letter was somewhat disingenuous and hypocritical, as Senator John McCain later pointed out in a response to Putin’s letter which was printed in the Russian newspaper Pravda (quid pro quo), because the Russians have always been very cozy with the Syrian regime, and the Russians have not had a very good human rights record in their own country.  As McCain pointed out, they have jailed those who dare to speak out publicly in opposition to Russian leaders or policy, and free speech is heavily discouraged through bullying tactics by the police and KGB.  But one of the interesting things about the Putin letter is that he took exception to Obama’s use of the term “American Exceptionalism.”  Putin said that it was dangerous for anyone to say that they are special and that doing so is a contradiction to biblical teachings where we learn that everyone was made equal by God. 

Of course, Putin was not only a referring to the Bible, but he was also making a tangential reference to our American values as revealed in our Declaration of Independence, our national charter, in which our founding fathers argued that “all men are created equal.”  One of the most interesting things to emerge from Putin’s letter, however, is his apparent definition of “American Exceptionalism” as arrogant superiority.   Of course, the argument did not end there.  The discussion about “American Exceptionalism” was taken up in a firestorm all across the blogosphere, on news shows, in magazines, in newspapers, etc.  In many of the discussions, especially on the cultural and political left, people took exception to Obama’s use of the term, and in most of those discussions, they also defined “American Exceptionalism” the way that Putin did, as arrogant superiority.  This is quite an interesting debate, especially since none of the people arguing over this term have correctly defined it, nor did they bother to look it up, yet they are having a very heated debate over the term, getting quite emotionally charged up about it.  It is almost comical.

More on this tomorrow.  I pray that God will bless you with His close, loving presence this day and give you the strength, wisdom, and courage to sustain you throughout the day.



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What you are saying is true that Putin is not only to refer bible but also many other things. At the end there is the same prayer for all of us that you have at the end of this article.


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 


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