Richard Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review have hit the nail on the head in describing why so many of us are frustrated, angry and concerned about the direction of “change” under the current administration.
They argue that It is the sense that the election of President Obama represents the culmination of multi-generational efforts among elites to attack the foundation of our national greatness — the very notion of American exceptionalism. Lowry and Ponnuru explain what it means to be a conservative in America today:
What do we, as American conservatives, want to conserve? The answer is simple: the pillars of American exceptionalism. Our country has always been exceptional. It is freer, more individualistic, more democratic, and more open and dynamic than any other nation on earth. These qualities are the bequest of our Founding and of our cultural heritage. They have always marked America as special, with a unique role and mission in the world: as a model of ordered liberty and self-government and as an exemplar of freedom and a vindicator of it, through persuasion when possible and force of arms when absolutely necessary.
The survival of American exceptionalism as we have known it is at the heart of the debate over Obama’s program. It is why that debate is so charged. In his first year, Obama tried to avoid the cultural hot buttons that tripped up Bill Clinton and created the “gays, guns, and God” backlash of 1994. But he has stoked a different type of cultural reaction. The level of spending, the bailouts, and the extent of the intervention in the economy contemplated in health-care and cap-and-trade legislation have created the fear that something elemental is changing in the country. At stake isn’t just a grab bag of fiscal issues, but the meaning of America and the character of its people: the ultimate cultural issue.
The most obvious assaults on American exceptionalism proposed by the Obama Administration have not been attacks on our religious and cultural heritage, although those have occurred — they have been on our understanding of the role of government in our economic lives. Government spending and regulation threatens our freedom to choose what we do and how we do it, and our very ability to earn money, while creating larger blocs of people who are entirely dependent on government for their food, shelter, clothing and health care.
Whether America continues to be exceptional hangs in the balance. Everyone should read this article, as we re-dedicate ourselves to fighting the political battles necessary to maintain the greatness of America for our children and their children.