I applaud Steve Provost’s editorial in Sept. 15’s paper. It’s about time we recognize that while the United States has had some exceptional achievements, we are not exceptional.
If the reprehensible episodes in our history were considered in isolation, we would look exceptional — exceptionally cruel and immoral. If the laudatory and despicable were averaged together, we would no doubt find that that is exactly what we are: average.
Mr. Provost includes Switzerland in his “might be exceptional” list. I have been there many times, and found it to be cleaner than here, with less crime and only a tiny percentage of the population behind bars. Its citizens participate more directly in the political process and universal health care is provided through collaboration between the private and public sectors. Its citizens have enjoyed a high standard of living for longer than the United States has been in existence. As far as I know, it has never had a slave population.
I am very grateful for the advantages I enjoy as a citizen of this country. But that doesn’t mean I should turn a blind eye to its deficiencies. We have a lot to learn from others. U.S. exceptionalism? We need to get over it.