The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Howard Zinn in his lecture unveils the myth of American exceptionalism. Zinn reports the numerous circumstances, when American people of power (commonly, President Bush, McCarthy, Elijah Roots, etc.) believed that the USA were the “city upon a hill”, and that this ‘God chosen’ country should act in the way God Himself will guide it. Experience has proven that God ‘suggested’ America the worst methods to reach democracy and the much-vaunted freedom: McKinley prayed and God ‘told’ him to take the Philippines, President Bush also was inspired by God to strike Al-Qaida. The government derives its moral authority from God, is it not a playing upon people`s heartstrings? Is it not a ‘hiding’ behind the immaculate image of God in order to win the nation’s confidence and approval? Zinn asserts that American history, taught to the coming generation, is diplomatic. If young people would learn the USA history of massacres and continuous expansion, they would never believe the fight for freedom and the ‘sacred’ destination of their homeland.

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The mission of the USA is to spread liberty around the world. The next examples of such ‘peaceful’ politics cast light on what USA really wanted to achieve. American government believed that it would ‘teach’ civilization to the Indians, when the American colonists moved westwards to the native`s territory, anxious about their so-called ‘independence’ from England. Mexico also was also subjected to an involuntary ‘release’ from its past beliefs, in return for Christianity (in recent 1946). Time passed, and ‘liberty’ to Cuba was brought (liberated from Spanish dominion, but not that from USA). The price of Philippian ‘freedom’ was its rewritten Constitution, along with the death of 600.000 Philippians - the latter were just fighting for real freedom of their population.

Zinn is insightful in his implications about our government – what God really approves and what Presidents claim Him to approve are different things. No one should advocate its exceptionalism that is superiority, first of all. America steeped hands in blood during its policy of ‘freedom’, and now this fact is concealed. True freedom should base on equal rights, insist on human equality and conform to the utterance of W. L. Harrison: “My country is a world, my countrymen are mankind.”

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