Nikole Hannah-Jones, writer for the New York Times, said just days before 9/11 that she believes America is “not an exceptional nation.”
Hannah-Jones, founder of the 1619 Project, a fact-challenged effort to rewrite the history of America as the date African slaves arrived in Virginia, made the comments at a speaking engagement at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
While the United States has been home to exceptional ideas, she believes, it is not necessarily a remarkable nation.
“Also, I don’t think we’re an exceptional nation. I think that’s ludicrous for any nation to make that claim, and we certainly cannot make that claim,” she said.
“We’re a nation founded on genocide, and chattel slavery, and classism, and gender discrimination,” Hannah-Jones continued. “We’re not. We had exceptional ideas but we’re not an exceptional nation.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones is Wrong – America is Pretty Damn Exceptional
Who comes to mind when you hear Hannah-Jones denigrate America? How about former President Barack Obama who made similar comments in 2009?
“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism,” said Obama.
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Just as Hannah-Jones hints, in Obama’s mind, no nation is exceptional if every one of them thinks that they are exceptional.
But there’s one minor flaw with that argument – a litany of achievements that set America apart.
- Declaration of Independence – A blueprint for freedom that inspired numerous other nations’ own movements for independence.
- Immigration – There is a reason over 50 million immigrants have come to America since 1960, more than the next four nations combined. It’s because the places they come from pale in comparison to this exceptional nation – the one they are coming to.
- World War II – America saved the world from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
- Charity – We are the most charitable nation by far, whether it is providing funds or time to others.
- Emancipation Proclamation – Declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”
And lest we get started on exceptional achievements such as the moon landing, the Wright Brothers and the birth of aviation, the polio vaccine, the internet (no, not Al Gore), cell phones, the first mass-produced automobile, and on and on.
Relative to today, Hannah-Jones would do well to recognize that it took an exceptional nation to recover from the events of 9/11.
19 years ago, the nation came together like never before. Police officers and firefighters climbed the towers trying to save people, knowing they might never go home. Americans dug through the rubble for days knowing they might only find pulverized bones.
That’s pretty exceptional.
You Can’t Re-Write History
President Trump spoke at a ceremony at the site of the United Flight 93 plane crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania today. His comments directly contradict Hannah-Jones’ claims.
“In the days and weeks after 9/11, citizens of all faiths, backgrounds, colors and creeds came together, prayed together, mourned together, and rebuilt together. The song ‘God Bless America,’ became a rallying cry for the nation,” he stated.
The President continued: “We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional nation, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath.”
“We were united by our conviction that America was the world’s most exceptional nation, blessed with the most incredible heroes, and that this was a land worth defending with our very last breath.” –@realDonaldTrump
— Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah) September 11, 2020
America is exceptional. Her people are exceptional. She is the greatest nation the world has ever known. On the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it’s more important than ever to remember.
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