Thursday, September 01, 2011

Exceptional or Not?

Shelby Steele's column in the Wall Street Journal today is well-worth the read...

As a president, Barack Obama has been a force for mediocrity. He has banked more on the hopeless interventions of government than on the exceptionalism of the people. His greatest weakness as a president is a limp confidence in his countrymen. He is afraid to ask difficult things of them.

Like me, he is black, and it was the government that in part saved us from the ignorances of the people. So the concept of the exceptionalism—the genius for freedom—of the American people may still be a stretch for him. But in fact he was elected to make that stretch. It should be held against him that he has failed to do so.
Steele's ovveriding point is that American exceptionalism is not a familiar concept to the President, in large part due to his experiences growing up and the family that raised him. But America did not elect him to change away from exceptionalism to mediocrity -- we elected him to change away to a new form of exceptionalism. Sadly, we're not getting anything like that.

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