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America Explained, a Little

December 17, 2015
Plain English Version
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Essay

You may be getting tired of hearing Republicans running for president talk about how they would destroy the Islamic state. They had a debate on Tuesday night. They tried to outdo each other with tough talk. The candidates also said they would keep Syrian refugees out of this country. The debates do not show America at its best.

The killings in San Bernardino and Paris add to the fervor.

Two things are at work. Politicians are trying to get voters. The media is trying to get viewers and readers.  Creating fear is a great way to attract attention. For politicians, it is a way to become popular among a certain group of voters. Tell them that you will destroy the enemy. You will save the country. The media helps politicians and their popularity by sounding alarms.

It also matters that thirteen Republicans are running. It is difficult to break out of the pack.

America is known as a land that puts a lot of people in jail. It also is a land where millions of people own guns. The U.S. does other things that the rest of the world thinks are a little crazy.

Is America different than other nations and if so, why?

Many Americans believe in “American Exceptionalism.”  The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are America’s greatest contribution.

There are four other reasons Americans believe they are special.

  • America began as thirteen colonies on the east coast. In less than 100 years, the entire continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean had been settled. Americans feel there is no “frontier” they cannot overcome.
  • America never had a king. It has never had a class system. This means that the common man can rise as far as his talent and fortune can take him.
  • America is a federal system of government. It has fifty states. The states make their own laws. These include gun and criminal laws.
  • America is an ocean away from the rest of the world. No foreign army has ever invaded it.

Considering these differences may help explain why Americans behave the way they do. Still, the debates are an embarrassment.

 

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