The very term brings to the American mind the image of America as a nation of overachievers who either by superior work ethic or divine guidance has made the country the best place in the world to live, and the people inherently more deserving of whatever blessings they enjoy.
If you'd like to debate the very idea of American Exceptionalism, you certainly may, but I would like also to delve deeply into the idea that, whether true or not, this cultural belief promotes an inflated sense of self-worth that is ultimately unhealthy for the psyche of this country.
Basically, where does national pride become an almost psychotic arrogance?
Or am I just not appreciating our inherent greatness?
Closing Statement from Verble Gherulous
Thanks to all for their good comments about American Exceptionalism, most of the strong points reinforced the idea that our strength derives from an emphasis on individual liberty with a responsibiity to work together, and others also pointed out how the idea of being exceptional can lead to arrogance. I especially appreciated the Australian parallel.
All in all, I think it's fine to be proud of the place where you live, as long as you can also be honest about it.
Thanks again, everyone!