Salon: American Exceptionalism Is Dead Or Something
You might be asking why? It’s because rarely does ever anything come from demonstrations by far left nutjobs who enjoy burning, looting, violence, rapes, murder, and other crime. Of course, author David Dayen forgets to mention that part, but he does remember the upside down and tattered American flag
I have been out of the country twice this year. The first time, I was in Mexico when protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting death of Michael Brown; more recently, my two weeks in Argentina coincided with nationwide demonstrations against the lack of grand jury indictments in the cases of Brown and Eric Garner, the Staten Island police chokehold victim.
Witnessing a nascent anti-police brutality movement from a distance has given me a different perspective on it, because the novelty of getting out in the streets in America and demanding justice stands in stark contrast to the utter ubiquity of such actions in other parts of the world.
Dayen is very happy to tell us all about street action in Mexico and Argentina (where they revere psychotic murderer Che Guevara, much like Liberals here in the U.S.), going into deep detail, before moving on to
We used to have this same belief in America, that street action mattered and needed to be nurtured. From the Boston Tea Party to the civil rights movement, from the Bonus Marchers to the Pullman strikers and many more, America has a rich tradition of uprising against a seemingly immovable political and social apparatus. The right to peaceably assemble is enshrined in the Constitution, even if it largely seems theoretical today.
See, there’s that word “peaceably”. That’s typically not something we see from Leftist protests. We sure haven’t seen it with the Ferguson and Eric Garner protests. How many death threats did George Zimmerman accumulate from unhinged Leftists? Remember, Occupy Wall Street actually had to erect a tent that was a Rape Free Zone in Zuccotti Park. There were no Conservatives involved. They were the ones who pooped on police cars and door steps. They’ve had members arrested for plotting violence, including blowing up bridges.
Let’s also not forget that Leftists typically leave protest areas in worse condition than beforehand, ranging from massive amounts of trash to burned buildings.
But sometime between 1776 and now, mass engagement became separated from American political DNA. Like solar panel manufacturing, the United States invented the political protest and then let it wither away while other countries kept it alive. Modern-day demonstrations have evolved into media-friendly one-off events rather than a continuing struggle, a way for people to simply register their dissent without having to sustain it. We hear about the need for a national conversation on race, injustice, violence or economic suffering, but we actually need a daily conversation, an evolving and energizing force of public opposition that those in power cannot easily dismiss.
On this, he has a point. Why does the media keep ignoring the demonstrations and outcry from Conservatives over what happened in Benghazi and with the IRS scandal? The Leftist media tends to ignore, downplay, and/or dismiss Conservative demonstrations. And, if we attempt to have an actually conversation, Liberals will trot out their typical invective. They do not want a conversation, they want a soliloquy.
But, yes, our Political Class does tend to ignore The People. Republicans are dismissive of their base. Democrats are afraid of theirs. Both loathe their bases. I’m not sure how all of this means American exceptionalism is dead, though.
I believe this revival of the culture of protest comes out of a belated realization, one that Latin America and other countries had already internalized. They understand that their vote can only go so far, that the entrenched interests who control the social and political infrastructure will only respond to a massive disruption to their smoothly functioning machine. We had a delusion in America that we were somehow exceptional, that we wouldn’t succumb to oligarchy or the control of an ossified elite. We preferred to look the other way when confronted with institutional racism or the rigidities of class. “We’ve gotten better,” we’d tell ourselves. And we gave up the struggle instead of redoubling efforts.
Ah. There it is. It really has nothing to do with the actual notion of American exceptionalism, but, hey, any storm in a port, right?
Maybe it took the financial crisis and its sluggish aftermath. Maybe it took a black kid getting shot by the cops to recognize the illegitimacy of the justice system. But there has been some small awakening that we’re not all that exceptional, that our democracy is prone to the same capture we see all around the world, and that we don’t have many options to fix that outside of getting in the street and shouting.
In Buenos Aires, I took a picture of some street graffiti, which read, “Cuando la tirania es ley, la revolucion es orden”: when tyranny is law, revolution is in order. We’re discovering in America the existence of the former, and finally easing up on our dismissal of the latter.
Here’s the thing: Liberals got exactly what they wanted. They’ve pushed for 100 years for bigger and bigger Government. They’ve pushed to invest more and more power in Government. To shift that power from The People to The Government. They’ve been pushing to move power from State, county, and local governments to the Federal Government. They get domineering laws, rules, and regulations passed. What they hell did they think was going to happen? If American exceptionalism has died because of Government, it’s on them. They should look in the mirror.
I’d tell Leftists to join Conservatives in pushing for term limits for Congress and repealing the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators), but, then, at the end of the day liberals are way to invested in Government and governmental power.