American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism

Stories refuel family culture

The holiday season is here again. Thanksgiving. Then Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's. This is the time of year when families still come together. They kick back and relax. Many even talk, and when they talk, most will tell stories. Adults will share with kids the achievements and the antics of moms and dads, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. It is a time when the traditions of a family are amplified and the embers of a family culture are refueled. 

A cheer for fellow North Americans

WASHINGTON -- By a score of 1-0, Norway upset Mexico on Sunday in the first game of the World Cup played at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The festive opening ceremonies were followed by a terrific soccer game -- the best I've ever seen. 

The game was played on a steamy afternoon before a capacity crowd of 52,000 chanting, raucous, flagwaving soccer fans -- many from Norway and even more from Mexico. 

Doubters replace dreamers, doers

We celebrated Presidents Day on Monday. It's no longer George Washington and Abe Lincoln, men of vision, courage and achievement -- heroes, to use a term that is now out of favor. Presidents Day just blends them all together -- Harry Truman with John Tyler and Thomas Jefferson with Chester Arthur. It's better that way. It fits the times, our times, when our political and cultural leaders are, for the most part, more comfortable with pygmies -- people with small ideas, diminished aspirations and narrow horizons.

Other triumphs worth cheering

Many of the youngest members of the twenty-something generation are graduating this month in commencement ceremonies all over America. 

But this year, something is different. This year, Americans also are celebrating the 50th anniversary of D-day, which marked the beginning of the end of World War II and the struggle against fascism. 

The spirit of triumphalism has been rediscovered by the media, and media moguls have found that pride sells. Americans are proud of their achievements -- and we should be. We have much to be proud of. 

U.S. Has Much To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a good time to consider the many faces of America's abundance. With a few notable and troubling exceptions, our prosperity is secure and things are getting better. In the words of environmental writer Gregg Easterbrook, "Most indices of U.S. life have been positive for years, even decades." Examples:

Bright economic news isn't new

Economic news continues to improve. It began during the last three months of the Bush administration, when US economic growth led the industrialized world. Some observers are even beginning to talk about an "American resurgence." 

Economic indicators are clear . Unemployment, now at 6.4%, is down sharply -- the largest one-month drop in 10 years. Consumer confidence is up. 

A time to reflect on role of religion

Thanksgiving is a good time. It's a time for celebration and a time for reflection. 

Most cultures celebrate a thanksgiving -- an autumn festival where friends and family come together to thank God for plentiful crops, good fortune and other blessings received during the year. 

So too in America. That's why this week is a good time to think about the role of religion in American society -- particularly this year, the 30th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, America's first Catholic president. 

Bomb did what had to be done

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are in the news, and for good reason: They mark the first use of nuclear weapons -- to bring an end to World War II -- and the dawn of the nuclear age. 

I was 6 years old when the bomb was dropped and the war ended. Five of my uncles and one of my aunts were in the war. My aunt was an Army nurse and accompanied the first units into Dachau, the notorious German death camp. She acquired many gruesome photographs and the Dachau guest register, signed by Reichsminister Himmler and other Nazi VIPs who visited the camp. 

American culture in demand

The appeal and spread of American culture ‹American TV programs (including news and entertainment, movies, music, paperbacks, videocassettes, CDs, fast food and fashions ‹ is one of the truly astounding features of the last half of the 20th century. Aspects of this fascinating story were the subject of a recent roundtable at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. some of the indicators are mind-boggling.

Reboot

Reboot!

It’s better to wear out than rust out.”  That is the message of Reboot!  While American culture glamorizes the “Golden Years” of endless leisure and amusement, Phil Burgess rejects retirement, as he makes the case for returning to work in the post-career years, a time he calls later life.

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