David Ehrens never fails to disappoint. In his latest sojourn into the land of "We Bad with Nothing Good" on the opinion page of Sept. 27 ("Your View: What’s so great about American Exceptionalism?"), he once again makes a case for his somewhat distorted and perhaps myopic view of the world and the country. But don't get me wrong right out of the gate.
I am admittedly at a disadvantage, because it appears that Mr. Ehrens has a more detailed and greater depth of knowledge of the events than I and, I suspect, most of us have. That is probably true even if some of the historical facts might be taken out of context and/or are misinterpreted.
Context and interpretation notwithstanding, he has the constitutional right to express his views. He does so with skill and passion. That's obvious. In a general, but limited, way, we have to agree with Mr. Ehrens. That cannot be avoided, because we all know and acknowledge that our country isn't perfect and we have made mistakes, particularly in foreign affairs. But what country hasn't? (Well O.K. — maybe Luxembourg!)
Many of those mistakes were made in what we believed at the time to be in our own best, sometimes selfish, interests or in the best interest of those we were trying to help, but not always honestly, skillfully or with expected results. Examples: Vietnam, the Shah of Iran, and the Iraq war (remember WMD and "slam-dunk"?) just to mention a few, and the list goes on. Most, if not all, were not made by one person alone, but with the not-so-able assistance of advisers, cabinet members or members of Congress. (That is why God so loved the world, that He didn't send a committee!)
At the end of World War II, we emerged, fortunately enough, from that conflict as the only major participant that was not totally decimated physically and economically. From that point on, we quickly evolved into a "superpower," whatever that means. With great power comes great responsibility, or at least that was apparently the general thinking at the time.
In many ways it was right, and in many ways wrong. But at that time and in going forward, we truly were "exceptional." We still are in many ways. We are and have been a very generous nation. From the Marshall Plan after World War II to the present time, whenever and wherever disaster has struck, the United States has consistently been there faster and with more aid than any other nation. That makes us exceptional.
The fact that more people want to migrate here than any other country makes us exceptional. The fact that Mr. Ehrens and I can agree or disagree in a public forum on any issue, without fear of unwanted or unwarranted intervention or influence makes us exceptional.
The fact that David Ehrens, or I, or anyone else can hold and express some of the most outrageous opinions without any fear of government reprisal makes us exceptional. So despite our faults and failings, there are many reasons why our exceptionalism and our country are great. God Bless America.
Bob Comeau lives in Dartmouth.