These wingnuts don’t really understand American exceptionalism

Instead, the president should invoke America’s long tradition of left-wing exceptionalism. The great warriors for social justice in our history all insisted that America had a providential destiny. Unlike present-day conservatives, however, they also indicted the nation for abandoning this mission. They used American exceptionalism to critique America’s vices, not just to sing its virtues…

That’s precisely the kind of exceptionalism that Obama and his party need to reinvigorate right now. To Obama’s Republican critics, American exceptionalism is synonymous with American superiority: We’re not just different, we’re better. He should reply with a full-throated defense of a different kind of exceptionalism, one that underscores America’s historic struggle to realize its proclaimed values.

That doesn’t make us better than anyone else. But it does give us a special duty to fight injustice, wherever we find it. Especially in ourselves.

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