Friday, September 12, 2008


I watched the [rather ridiculous, I thought] ServiceNation Presidential Forum at Columbia University last night and had the same reaction as a reader at The Corner at one point:
Did you notice how McCain received absolutely NO applause when he talked about how Americans have shed blood around the globe in defense of freedom and should be commended for that? I thought to myself — is there not an audience at this event? The camera panned back and did reveal an audience. What kind of people don't respond to such positive statements about the history of America?

Here is the portion in question:
WOODRUFF: Senator, I want to come back to something you said earlier, I think you used the word exceptional and unique about being an American. On this 9/11, this special day, what — help us understand what you think it means to be an American. And I don’t mean that in the obvious way.

I mean, people who live in Canada, who live in Mexico, around the world feel special about their country, so what is it that’s different about being in America? Are Americans better than people in some of these other countries? We hear the term “exceptionalism” about the United States.

MCCAIN: I do believe in American exceptionalism.

MCCAIN: And I think it was best articulated by our founding fathers. But I also think that my hero, Teddy Roosevelt, expressed it very well, and other leaders throughout our history.

We’re the only nation I know in the world that really is deeply concerned about adhering to the principle that all of us are created equal and endowed by our creators with certain rights. And those we have tried to bring to the world. And we have not so much militarily, but through example, through leadership, through economic assistance.

Look at what we did for Europe after World War II, look at the continuous efforts we make throughout the world. Look at the efforts we’re making to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. There’s a lot more America can do.

And I love these other countries, and I’m not trying to denigrate them. But I know of no other country in the world with the generosity of spirit and the concern for fellow human beings than the United States of America, and I think that goes back to our very beginnings.

WOODRUFF: Does that make America better than these other…?

MCCAIN: I think it makes us exceptional. I think it makes us exceptional in the kind of citizenry we have and the kind of service and sacrifice that we are capable of.

And I mean that in no disrespect to any other nation, our close and unique relationship with the British. I have — I’m not trying to in any way denigrate any other nation, but it doesn’t in any way diminish my pride in the history of this nation, which has literally shed our blood in all four corners of the earth many times in defense of someone else’s freedom and have tried to further the principles of freedom and democracy everywhere in the world. I think we’re dedicated to that proposition. And, frankly, I think we’ve done a pretty good job.

McCain's passionate statement about American exceptionalism (and Woodruff's sense of disbelief that anyone could possibly think America was better than any other country) evoked absolute dead silence from the Columbia crowd. I think John McCain was somewhat taken aback that there was no response to this.

I think this perfectly exemplifies what it has come down to in this country: a great number of Americans--mostly of the Democrat and brainwashed leftist persuasion--don't think America is anything special. They live in the freest, best off, most productive, most generous country on the globe, and they don't think that's anything special.

Instead of being proud of their own country, they feel shame. Instead of seeing America as a "shining light on the hill" they believe it exemplifies all that is evil in the world. "No, no, no! Not God bless Amerika! God Damn Amerika!" And you wonder why the Reverend Wright saga didn't take down the Obama campaign when far less incendiary comments have thoroughly destroyed previous presidential campaigns?

The dead silence at Columbia, one of the supposed "gems" of American academia bespeaks of a deadness of the soul that is truly pathetic.

UPDATE: David Feith has an article at NRO, "Duty, Honor, Country...and Columbia", discussing Columbia's decision not to allow ROTC on campus; and how military service remains an unrecognized and unappreciated service there -- at least by administration and the leftist professoriate.

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