A Test of American Exceptionalism

A Test of American Exceptionalism

General James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, told a Senate Committee that his group was aware of the deep-seated problems and tensions in the Muslim Middle East nations long before the current riots.

The secret 18 page classified report was ordered by President Obama. It concluded that the area was ripe for popular revolt due to massive unemployment, the large impatient youth population, rising food prices, and corrupt government practices.

However, neither the White House, the State Department, the CIA nor the Defense Department was able to muster enough pressure on their Middle East allies to change policies to avert the current revolutions.

Has President Obama launched a similar study of the condition and attitudes of American workers, suffering from some of the same pressing wounds?

Unemployment in America is receiving media attention but not a serious program to solve the crisis – and the real numbers reveal a catastrophic decline in family income. While the official unemployment numbers are about 9% and not declining, worker income has been reduced even more dramatically because so many discouraged workers have stopped looking for work, so many qualified workers are working at wages far below their skill levels, so many are working part-time, that the accurate number of unemployment is likely at 25 million.

Figuring a typical family of four, the 25 million grows to 100 million people whose standards of living have been dramatically reduced even with government assistance. That is one third of the total 300 million population of the United States – an authentic crisis. How long will it take before there are popular uprisings in the US, uprisings led by the youngest workers, those with the most anger, perhaps with the most idealism, with the uncompromising determination and energy to stake out positions in the public square and to maintain their demands until the nation takes care of all its citizens?

The richest nation in world history can do no less. The land drained by the mighty Mississippi should take inspiration from the revolution of the land of the ancient Nile. Not to respond would be a negative redefinition of our proud tradition of American Exceptionalism. We like to think of ourselves as a new kind of nation, a unique model for the political world, the proverbial City on the Hill. This crisis is a test. Prove that we are as noble as we say we are. The whole world is watching.

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