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  • Heritage in Focus: Matt Spalding on American Exceptionalism

    At an event in Florida last week, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Marco Rubio told a crowd:

    This race is not your traditional race. It is a referendum on our identity. This race forces us to answer a very simple question: Do we want our country to continue to be exceptional, or are we prepared for it to become just like everybody else?

    The debate on American exceptionalism has garnered widespread attention this season. It has been a Tea Party rallying cry and an object of liberals’ sneers. But what is American exceptionalism?

    In this week’s Heritage in Focus podcast, Matthew Spalding explains that America is different because it is founded on self-evident principles proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and secured in the Constitution. These principles include the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the right to free speech and freedom of religion. America still holds this beacon of liberty among the nations of the world, even as Progressives deride such a claim as chauvinistic – a complaint they are free to make thanks to America’s unrivalled speech protections (to receive regular updates on Heritage podcasts, visit us on iTunes or subscribe to our RSS feed).

    As President Obama replaces his national security advisor, proposes new plans to overhaul the economy, and tackles the implementation of his new health care laws, he too will be faced with questions of what the American republic is made of, and what makes it unique, a leader among nations.

    In Europe, national economies are crushing entitlement burdens. America now faces the choice between free markets and public sector-driven redistributionist policies.

    In China this week, government censors will undoubtedly rip the pages out of newspapers celebrating the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. In America, the lively debate that fuels democracy is kept alive by freedom of speech for as long as its citizens recognize and protect that freedom.

    And now, with rising threats from Iran, North Korea, and other enemies of democracy and freedom, President Obama should reflect on his own words, from his speech after accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in 2009:

    …the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.

    These are rousing words in defense of American exceptionalism on the international stage, words which President Obama has still failed to live up to, as The Heritage Foundation’s analysis of the Obama Doctrine shows. It is the spirit and defense of American exceptionalism that should animate voters and policymakers as our country enters a turbulent time of international conflict and domestic hardship.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Heritage in Focus: Matt Spalding on American Exceptionalism

    1. valerie kent wa says:

      so what this says is that no farm subsudies are necessary so why do we hacw them

    2. valerie kent wa says:

      so what you are saying is that this whole program is unnessary so why is then big money behind it

    3. Billie says:

      Obama's speech writer does have a way of saying things, but Obama's self-government serving demeanor proves those are "just words." His actions show no resemblance to these words. He only makes exception with insults to individual skin color regarding civil law. He won't ever willingly see or admit the true understanding of the exceptionalism of all Americans to individually govern their own. That would defeat his agenda.

    4. James L. Barker, Hen says:

      The first tea party, in Boston, was about being taxed without being represented. If that is what the tea party movement is about today then count me in. I am tired of having members of congress, in both parties, which have to sell their votes on bills and sponsor bills and amendments to bills to get the campaign contributions required to get elected. Even if the person I elect has my best interest in mind when they first get elected, to stay in office they must build a campaign fund of outrageous size to stay in office. This is only the start. My “representative” is inundated with lobbyists, to the tune of more than ten to each representative, bearing gifts and campaign contributions from every special interest that can be imagined. The laws passed allow many of these interests to make obscene amounts of money, and sometimes bill the people. Any and every bill is subject to these peoples and entities influences. They are not “the people” that elected these, so called, representative. WE ARE PAYING TAXES AND NOT GETTING REPRESENTED!

      Electing new “representatives” is not the answer. The system just assimilates the new “representative” before they have any power to accomplish anything for their constituents. No law passed by congress truly has the best interests of “we the people” in mind. The just has to look like it kind of solves the problem. The true solutions have been gutted from the law and it just serves to make the special interest that got it passed more money.

      The founding fathers left “the people” a way to rectify a situation like this, besides bearing arms. We can amend the constitution. We need:

      “The Reclaim America Amendment”

      Section 1. No elected public official, person running for or planning to run for public office, shall allow a person or entity, which cannot vote for them, to have undue influence over said official or person, nor over the election of said public official or perspective official.

      Section 2. Elected public officials and perspective public officials shall accept contributions to their election campaigns only from individual persons that can vote for said elected public officials in their current campaign. Said individual contributions, per election cycle, to the campaigns of public elected officials shall be limited to the approximate weekly income of the average worker in United States of America. No campaign contributions may be accepted until candidacy has been declared. Public monies for campaigns must be distributed evenly amongst the existing declared candidates.

      Section 3. Campaign advertisements in all media may only be produced, paid for, and presented by the elected official’s or prospective official’s designated sole campaign office. It is understood that this is a limitation of free speech but this is required to limit undue influence on elected public representatives by outside special interests that may or may not be constitutes.

      Section 4. Gifts to elected public officials shall be limited to the amount allowed to other public servants, such as postal workers. No elected public officials or perspective public officials shall accept a gift from a person or entity unless said person or entity can vote for the official. Elected public officials and perspective public officials must keep a publicly accessible written record of all gifts received, showing what the gift was, who gave it and when it was received.

      Section 5. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    5. Drew Page, IL says:

      Obama's acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize was written for him by someone else and he was no more serious about those words than he was about all the speeches written for him by others. Since Mr. Obama is reading the words of others in his speeches, he feels no compelling reason to live up to those words because they aren't his.

    6. herve leger replica dresses says:

      As mentioned above, Maruti Suzuki Cervo is expected to come powered by a 660CC petrol engine that would be able to generate a peak power of 60 bhp in addition to top torque of 64 Nm. The designer handbags carried by the women are which suits them in all kinds of outfits.

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