Essay on why we can’t say we’re not the best. This is part of the reason we are not getting good political candidates. We don’t want to hear the truth if it points at our own weaknesses.
How far would this truth-telling candidate get? Nowhere fast. Such a candidate is, in fact, all but unimaginable in our political culture. Of their serious presidential candidates, and even of their presidents, Americans demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.
It is impermissible to dwell on chronic, painful problems, or on statistics that challenge the notion that the United States leads the world
It is permissible, in the political major leagues, for candidates to talk about big national problems — but only if they promise solutions in the next sentence: Unemployment is too high, so I will create millions of jobs. It is impermissible to dwell on chronic, painful problems, or on statistics that challenge the notion that the United States leads the world
given the increasing professionalization of politics, any candidate troubled by how the United States lags its peers in health or education has plenty of advisers and consultants to warn him never to mention it on the stump.
NYTimes: The Opiate of Exceptionalism http://nyti.ms/S8enhY