American Fiction: Putin was Right, America Is Not Exceptional

Not by a long shot. Vladimir Putin actually said, “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation…” and on this point, we are in total agreement. Many Americans have been led astray and are only now seeing the full effect of this repeated falsehood.

After all, what is it that makes America so exceptional in the first place?

Is it the 32 million Americans who can’t read, the 21 percent of adults who read below a 5th grade level, or the 19 percent of high school graduates who can’t read, period? (source)

Is it the 43.1 million people living in poverty? (source)

Is it that clean drinking water is no longer a basic necessity? (source)

Maybe it’s that corporations have more rights than people? (source)

Beyond music and television, electronics and wars, what is American culture?

Hot dogs and hamburgers and flags. So many flags.

Walmart and mass incarceration.

Reality TV and Bud heavy.

Sports and guns.

American culture is divided. And divisive. The 2016 election has shone a much needed spotlight on this very fact, as people realise they perhaps didn’t know their neighbors as well as they thought.

There are literally two sets of American history.

Black and white.

Fact and many versions of fiction, told and retold across generations, passed down like fables.

American culture is built on the backs of one race of people, while the other prospered and all these years later fail to see or accept their ancestors’ complicity.

As Michelle Alexander points out, white men get rich by selling pot now, but black men were sent to prison, where they still remain.

America is the world’s most patriotic country, but what does that really mean? You’re a self-proclaimed patriot but what are you proud of, beyond the fact that you can call yourself a “proud American”?

American patriotism is saying, “Well, at least we’re not [insert country name here]” or “If you don’t like it, you can leave, buddy!”

Land of the free, home of the brave? Where?

Freedom of speech, ideas and diversity are tantamount to democracy yet Americans cling to the first and at best, pay lip-service to the second and third.

Freedom of speech only applies if it suits you and your distinct set of beliefs. Just ask Colin Kaepernick. Yes, you have a right to protest, but only if you protest in a way that suits others.

Freedom of ideas? Like a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body? America’s idea of freedom any way you slice it, is actually very narrow in its application.

America is a nation founded on the land of others and populated by a group of immigrants, yet your president seeks to build a wall in opposition under the guise of safety.

Extreme vetting and building a wall as a means to preventing crime and terrorism will be about as successful as attempting to remain dry while standing in the middle of the ocean.

They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. America had both in spades long before Donald Trump declared his presidency and America will have both in spades long after he goes.

The famous war on drugs which sent black and brown people to prison at alarming rates is now met with compassion and calls for rehabilitation as predominantly white towns are ravaged by heroin epidemics.

Yes, America loves war yet fails to recognise the one it is currently embroiled in.

Left vs. right. Good vs. bad. Fact vs. fiction.

American culture is anti-intellectualism. A nation wearing an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt standing beside itself.

“Elite” has become a substitute for “educated.” Anyone with a semblance of education is lambasted even though the ones doing the cursing rely less and less on fact.

So no, America is not exceptional, but it’s been repeatedly told so. So much in fact that it deeply believes its own fiction.