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LETTERS / Yes, I do believe in American Exceptionalism

Dear Editor,

American Exceptionalism?  Yes, I do believe in American Exceptionalism, a relatively new term for me and one fraught with controversy, yet I do believe in it in my own way.  As a student of history, I know that ancient tribes, clans, nations and races have believed in this concept, the concept that the Creator likes them best of all humans, and they are therefore given carte blanche to treat others as they wish and rationalize the theft of land and the murder and torture of others.  

As stated above, my definition differs from the current one.  We are exceptional in America because we have always been willing to look back at the transgressions of our past, and say with remorse and regret that we were wrong, and we determine to never make those mistakes again.  

For myself personally, the Lenten Season is a special time to reflect on one’s behavior and determine to make amends and vow to do better.  Americans have transferred similar beliefs to the national stage and, collectively, we are willing to have a reckoning with our past however tardy that reckoning.

As a nation, we should not wallow in the guilt of our ancestors, but move forward.  However, the past should never be erased because all of us have heard the words of philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Yours sincerely,

Mary E. Moretz