A wise person once said (it may have been Jesus) that you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.  We like that. However,  another wise person added “but first it will make you uncomfortable,” and we should remember that too.


We, in our selves and our souls, are nourished by truth.  And by love and beauty.  These and many other things will keep us in health and freedom.  In our reflections on the notion of American “exceptionalism,” I suggest we think for a few days now about truth, love and beauty, each in turn.


When I suggested two days ago, borrowing from Michael Moore, that the exceptionalism in which USA Americans have excelled is “nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems” there was a flash of recognition in at lease some readers.  


Paul Clark responded, “Until the great powers are forced to abandon the path of warring and death, the creation will suffer along with the poor.”  Might it be that creation finds ways to complain about the human path of warring and death?  The Spanish flu in 1918 came right on the heels of The Great War, WWI, in which some 20 million people died.  The Spanish flu killed some 60 million people worldwide.  I wonder how many people wondered then, “Given what a flu virus can do to humanity, why did we just kill 20 million of ourselves in war?”  The endless wars of the USA have killed millions of people since 9/11—a truth which will make us uncomfortable if we let compassion inform our self-awareness.  We are part of nature, not just “other” than nature, and if we respond to a viral pandemic by thinking about our war pandemic(s), maybe that is good for us?  


In a personal note to me, another reader wrote “You addressed a topic that I think is one of the primary roots to our evil collective U.S. behavior—the absurd notion that we are exceptional (we are exceptionally evil).”  That, if there is truth in it, is making us uncomfortable before it is making us free.  


So it might be useful, if not at first freeing, to have a more truthful assessment of our (as the closet, or not-so-closet fascists call it) homeland.  Let’s at least for a while try on that thought.  

John K. Stoner  5/17/20