Eric Cantor: Americans are “better than anyone else”

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    OK, so it’s not just that Americans are good people, even great people, but that we are “better than any[one] else because of the exceptional nature of who we are.” What is it, something genetic? Something in the water?  And here I could have sworn that Americans were also members of the species, homo sapiens.  I also could have sworn that this was a nation of immigrants, with people from all over the world – Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Americas. Yet according to Eric Cantor, those same people, by the very act of coming here, turned from foreigners (bad) into people who are “better than any[one] else.”

    In general, does Eric Cantor really believe that this kind of hyper-nationalistic, bloviating b.s. is going to win us any friends anywhere in the world? Does he even care? What an imbecile.

    P.S. See Media Matters for a deconstruction/demolition of Eric Cantor’s speech at the Heritage Foundation yesterday.  As Media Matters says, “Rather than offering any clear policy positions, Cantor relied on Republican talking points and false attacks to argue that President Obama is jeopardizing our national security.”  Also, “despite his tough talk (both in his prepared remarks and the Q&A that followed), Cantor’s own record shows that he has no idea how to keep America safe.”  Of course, for those of us who follow Cantor closely, all we can say is, “what else is new?”

    • DanielK

      I think he’s taking pride in the fact that yes America is better than everyone else.  We have an obligation to do whatever we need to do in our nation’s best interests and we shouldn’t be apologizing for that. Most of the time we have to take on roles and do things in the international community that other states refuse to do or simply can’t logistically.  Hell, the fact that we are a nation of immigrants where they are welcome (legally) and not persecuted or anything else then I think that makes us better.  Refugees come here because we are the best country in the world.  Besides, if these countries don’t like the fact that we have pride and think we’re better than everyone else then they shouldn’t be coming asking usfor help whenever something happens.  The United States has taken a leading role in the international community and is a major reason why we live in a world that we do.  Not perfect but it could be a lot worse.  

      I guess there is nothing wrong with speaking softly and carrying a big stick  but we shouldn’t apologize for our being able to speak softly and using a big stick if necessary.

    • At our best, and even when we fall just short, there are many things about America ideas and ideals that simply are exceptional. I take tremendous pride in being American, and one of the reasons I fight so hard politically is because I believe in the words our Founding Fathers set down.

      However, it is a little jarring to hear Cantor being all rahrah while we are making many people in AZ feel less than human (many of whom have AMERICAN children) and we have prominent politicians like John McCain and Joe Lieberman calling for stripping AMERICANS of their rights and citizenship.

      When I hear Cantor say these things at this moment in time, I can’t help but wonder when is the moment we come out and see that the rules on the barn have been repainted:

      AMERICANS ARE EXCEPTIONAL, EXCEPT WHEN WE THINK YOU AREN’T.  

    • DanielK

      As Americans we make up the best country in the world.  I could ‘t imagine living anywhere else because most of the freedoms we have are because we as a people and a country ensure that our ideals are carried out, through democracy and everything else we as citizens do.  Our citizenry is what makes us the best country in the world because we are welcoming, supporting, loving and proud. We are the best country in the world.

      Also, I’ve never towed the party line with immigration and believe you have to have strong enforcement before anything else.  The amount of misinformation is amazing and even the amount of flack I got for articulating ways officers can enforce this was amazing.  Nothing is racist about it as it applies to all illegals, that’s what you call race neutral.

       

    • Teddy Goodson

      should advise many of the Republican Party’s wealthier backers that there is nothing better on earth than being an American because a surprising number of these wealthy supporters are actively engaged in getting a second passport, and many are arranging to leave this country and not just take up residence abroad, but are surrendering their American citizenship when they do so. Why? They think they are abused by the American tax system, mainly, but some also think statism and big government has shredded their liberty and their privacy. I am not kidding.

      Entire offices exist which advise Americans on changing their citizenship. These advisors give tax advice to these angry anti-tax Atlas Shrugged devotees on how safely to take their money with them. It is amazing to me how many such people there are, disaffected, convinced Obama is a socialist and going to confiscate their money, and that their personal freedom has evaporated under the iron heel of the Democrats.  

    • My husband has traveled all over the world (literally) and both of us have had an extensive amount of study on other countries and languages (my minors in college are in Spanish and German.)  And I do think there is something different about the US — especially historically and how that continues to play out in the big picture.  Because my husband travels so much, we have front row seats to see just how significant the United States continues to be in the world.  Certainly there is no need to compare ourselves as individuals to another individual, and there is no need for jingoism, and heaven knows we screw it up enough, but for a lot of us, there IS something pretty amazing about the United States, and all of the education and exposure in the world isn’t going to change that perspective for me.

    • One of the things that really makes me mad about Republicans is that they have twisted the definition of the word “exceptional.”  They’ve turned it into a value judgement — that we’re “better” than someone else.  It’s comparative.  When in actuality, it’s about not wishing to be compared at all; we are the exception.

    • DanielK

      I have no problem saying America is better than other countries…..We as citizens make up our country and the citizens of a country is what makes and even breaks a country, especially in a democracy.  If people don’t like this country and want to leave I say don’t let the door hit them in the ass on the way out. I wouldn’t give up what our country has even with it’s minor flaws for anything. Is it chest pumping?  Probably but after traveling and deploying in the military nothing can change that.

      As for the following international law like Kathy was saying that is a little hard because after studying international law this year there really is no enforcement mechanisms.  Each state has it’s individual soverign right to do what they think is best and if we don’t want to sign on to certain treaties, like the Rome Treaty for the International Criminal Court then it is done for our countries best interests.  (I understand the logic of not signing Rome but can’t figure out rationally for not signing Kyoto) I personally don’t expect us to rely on the international community when it comes to protecting us or having to do the international community’s “dirty work”.  I think the drone strikes are the dirty work that has to be done but I have faith is the administration after authrorizing that action. No state should have to apologize fir anything they do because each state is soverign in their own right.

      As for the immigration, I could care less why or how they are here. The problem is ensuring that until enforcement is strong then there is no point in giving them amensty (Sorry, that’s the way I see it) and citizenship for slapping us in the face by ignoring and disrespecting out laws. It’s too complicated of an issue for any reform that is being proposed to fix.  Lastly, there is no problems with immgrants coming here but it is those forces you mention that want illegal immigrants here so they can be exploited.  There is a distinct difference between those who come here the right way and the wrong way.    

    • Teddy Goodson

      national defense spending as “good federal spending,” according to the Richmond newspaper. I do not disagree, but, as in all things, it is the proportion of spending and how it relates to the rest of the federal budget that is important.

      We already know that McDonnell and the Republicans have acquired the semi-libertarian philosophy that government is bad, taxes are incredibly bad, and both should only go exclusively toward “defense,” leaving every individual citizen to pursue personal profit over everything else, i.e., there should be no common, publicly funded schools, no transportation, no public health, no anything to create infrastructure (physical or social)…

      Did Mr. McDonnell never hear that “defense” includes creation of a strong economy, a strong social system? Does he have no concept of geopolitics and what makes a nation powerful as well as safe?

      • Excellent comment.

        • Between this comment and your comments on the Arizona anti-“illegal immigration” law, I’m starting to wonder if an imposter has assumed your identity.

      • Exceptional is the correct word because it isn’t necessarily positive. It all depends on the context. Which is one of the reason I find the Republican rahrah “we are better than anyone” considered (by Republicans) as “American Exceptionalism” maddening. It was designed as a way of THINKING (most philosophies are!); as a check and balance. Do we want to be like X?  Can we do better?  Not the Sinclair Lewis boosterism the the current conservative have turned it into.  

        • …we’re the “best” because we’re the “best.”  Gotcha.

          As to your position on immigration, “strong enforcement” is only part of the answer, certainly not sufficient when all the economic forces (and many political ones) act to pull immigrants into this country and to artificially make them “illegal” (a highly misleading word in this context).

    • jack

      Throughout the entire clip, Rep. Cantor uses the pronoun “we” to refer to the United States.  The implication that the people of the United States are better than the people of other countries is simply not there, especially when you watch or read the entire interview, and what follows immediately after he says, “Are we better than anyone else because of the exceptional nature of who we are? Yes.”

      We don’t go out seeking territory, seeking to conquer people. We are about freedom, human progress, human rights. That’s what America has given to the world. And I for the life of me don’t understand how this administration can apologize for that, can treat our allies to pick bogus fights with countries like Israel when we know that country stands with us.

      Clearly here, “we” refers to “the United States,” not “the people of the United States.”

    • jack

      As I consider it more, and as I look around and see my co-workers, I see that they are some of the best and brightest from around the world — from Korea, India, Africa, and even Pakistan — all US citizens now, as a requirement of the work.  I look at my wife’s students, most of whom are working full-time jobs or two part-time jobs, while taking English class five hours every weekday in their quest to become American citizens.  They are some of the brightest and most ambitious people that their country had, and they came to the country where that ambition could best manifest itself — the United States.  They came here because it is a better country than the one they left, and they in turn make it better still.

      I like to think that they also make us “native” Americans better by their example; but at the very least, they bring up our average!