Letters to the Editor

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ELECTION: We’re hooked on opiate of exceptionalism

Letter by Kathleen A. Elfers, Enumclaw on Oct. 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm with No Comments »
October 26, 2012 9:43 am

Re: “Romney’s message: An exceptional nation, a peaceful world” (Kathleen Parker column, 10-24).

“Exceptionalism” was a new word to me until I read an Oct. 19 New York Times article, “The Opiate of Exceptionalism” by Scott Shane. Exceptionalism was explained in the article as a “national or American characteristic” where voters “demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.”

According to the article, voters resist plain-spoken truths. Our presidential candidates know this and, as a result, censor what they say.

Exceptionalism is the key word in Parker’s column. She mentions that Romney used the word “peace” 12 times in the third debate and was “basically laying out a blueprint of American exceptionalism.” He stated that “our purpose is to make sure the world is . . . peaceful. We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future and not be at war. That’s our purpose.”

These are feel-good words that pull at the voter’s heart strings but have no real substance.

We want a president who believes in his country but who is also willing to discuss important but unpopular issues or trends, such as the national debt or climate change. Voters deserve that respect. The “opiate of exceptionalism” does not, in the end, satisfy.

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