America, uniquely among all other nations, was founded on freedom and liberty. (And don't play the slavery card.  Americans didn't invent slavery.  They abolished it.)  Read the history of any other people.  You'll find that their societies were founded on tyranny. . . . Joseph Dobrjan and Aniele Slezak came to America in the first decade of the 20th century from opposite ends of the Polish speaking world: he from Vilna, in the Russian Empire; she from Lukawice, in the Hapsburg Empire.  They met and married in Gary, Ind.  They assimilated.  They embraced America.  They learned English, gained citizenship as soon as they could, and brought their children up as Americans.  Why, do you suppose?

American exceptionalism is real; it's an unimaginable gift.  If that gift embarrasses you--if you deny it, and wish America were something else--you're unworthy of America.

--Joseph Dobrian, "We should embrace American exceptionalism," Iowa City Press-Citizen (Wednesday, July 12, 2017)

Ad hominem attacks are not my thing, but Elmer Davis states: "The newspaper is not giving the reader his/her money's worth if it tells [them] only what somebody says is the truth, which is known to be false"; making an exception I challenge Dobrian's bigotry.  President Macron of France invited President Trump to celebrate Bastille Day in Paris as well as the anniversary of the United States military entrance into World War I, and this is where the myth of "American exceptionalism" breaks down.  America, like all Western nations, has a history of slavery, but took slavery a step further by reversing the Common Law in the 17th century assigning the status of the child to that of the mother, thus giving the child the status of "slave for life," and thus, chattel slavery was born in colonial America. These "Americans" went so far as to change "servant" to "slave at Ephesians 6:5 as a biblical witness to their "crime-against-nature's god." 

Even though the enslaved Africans became Americans via the Amendments XIII, XIV, and XV to the US Constitution, by 1896 with  Plessy v. Ferguson 1896, which legalized segregation, Negroes were all but re-enslaved and in Southern states and loss the ability to vote gained during Reconstruction; thus they were not citizens until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Acts of 1965 (citizens can vote unhindered).  Americans therefore took neo-slavery to the ultimate via de facto segregation until it was it was embarrassed beginning in 1957 and worldwide by the Post-colonial Movements and when Ghana gained independence. African diplomats began traveling to a segregated Washington, D.C, where because of their skin color/race, they were refused public accommodations in restaurants, hotels, and other businesses.

African American soldiers were part of the French Army during WWI, not the American army.  And a bigoted President Woodrow Wilson and his generals objected strenuously to the French decorating Black soldiers for bravery. 

Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee in World War I: A History In Documents (2002) state that "our world is built upon the hopes, aspirations, and even the disappointments of the [WWI] era.  One result was that the United States assumed a preeminent role in world affairs.  Despite isolationist, the United States could not disengage itself from European concerns.  As a result a dilemma which the war threw into stark relief but which would not go away was race.  As a world war involving action in Africa and Asia, and as a modern war whose massive casualties simulated a seemingly insatiable demand for manpower, the conflict forced white Europeans to turn to Chinese laborers and to African and Indian soldiers.  American officials reluctantly recruited African Americans to sustain the war effort.  But such service met with renewed intolerance, not gratitude, and a Japanese effort at the war's end to press the victorious Allies to denounce racial discrimination was brushed aside.  The resulting tensions would continue to simmer until after the Second World War, by which time they could no longer be repressed."  Numerous returning African American soldiers were lynched in uniform in the South for "killing White men" (the enemy) during WWI.

White men are good at making war and propaganda (Goebbels himself credited “Americans as having the best war propaganda"), but impossible at maintaining (Soft-power) peace, and WWI reveled this.  James Baldwin has noted in an essay The Harlem Ghetto: "The only place that Black Culture is valorized is outside of America. And Black music and culture have been the only truly effective the Soft Power the United States has exported.  Between WWI and WWII Jazz and African American entertainers were the most popular exports to Europe."  The Coetzees  posit that Lieutenant James Reese Europe and his jazz band, members of the 369 Infantry, also known as the Hell-fighters spread the joys of jazz throughout France.  The music of Europe's band "lifted soldiers' flagging morale and further strengthened the French-American alliance."  Quoting Emmett Scott (1919), they write: "Just as the Negro folk-songs--or songs of war, interpreted with the characteristic Negro flavor--stirred all France and gave poilu  (the average French soldier) and populace a taste of the real American music, the marvelous jazz bands kept their feet patting and their shoulders "eagle-rocking" to its infectious motion."

Baldwin continua: After WWII--and Post-colonial took over and "the Cold War set in, Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and other Black Jazz musicians that were sent on tours by the State Department to Europe and Japan to keep the peace through art where the American Wehrmacht could not.  Gospel music could fill concert halls and clubs in Europe."  Furthermore, another critic adds, "In the age of Rock n’ Roll and Rap, African American Stylin’ became the worldwide standard.  African American culture is only criminal--outlaw in the United States.  This to me is suspect."

Dobrian boasts, "Read the history of any other people.  You'll find that their societies were founded on tyranny."  Western Civilization reveals that all Western societies were founded on tyranny.  However, American-exceptionalism propaganda has taught us to believe that the United States of America (an imperialist country) was founded on freedom, and since WWI it has been an inspiration for oppressed Third World peoples.  However, the country that inspired freedom for oppressed/colonized peoples is Japan.  This was done via the outcome of "the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5,” which eventually led to both WWI and the Russian Revolution.

Until the outcome of the Russo-Japanese War, the White West ruled the colonized world that Lothrop Stoddard (The Rising Tide Of Color Against White World-Supremacy) consisted of Africa and Asia.  "White power was menaced," as "Russia was diplomatically isolated and militarily beaten in the Russo-Japanese War.  Thus the Russo-Japanese War, that destroyer of white prestige whose ominous results" [WWI], "was precipitated mainly by the reckless shortsightedness of white men themselves." 

Quoting a French journalist description of the defeat of the Russians, Stoddard states, "What a triumph"--what revenge for the little Nippons [Japan was the Nipponese Empire], to see thus humiliated these big, splendid men who, for them, represented, not only Russians, but those Europeans whom they so detest!  This scene tragic it its simplicity, this grief passing amid joy, these whites, vanquished and captives, defiling before those free and triumphant yellows--this was not Russia beaten by japan, not the defeat of one nation by another; it was something new, enormous, prodigious; it was the victory of one world over another; it was the revenge which effaced the centuries of humiliations borne by Asia; it was the awakening hop of the oriental people; it was the first blow given to the other race, to that accursed race of the West, which, for so many years, had triumphed without even having to struggle." 

Trump Visits Paris For Parade And Talks


Donald Trump is in France and will have talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. Political correspondent Thierry Arnaud of BFMTV talks with Steve Inskeep about what the two leaders will discuss.


President Trump has told the story of a friend he calls Jim, a man who used to visit Paris year after year but doesn't anymore because Paris is no longer Paris, the man says - changed by migration and Islamist radicals. The Associated Press reports it is unclear if the president's friend Jim actually exists. But now, the president himself is visiting Paris to meet with President Emmanuel Macron and to attend a parade on France's national holiday, Bastille Day.

Let's talk about this with Thierry Arnaud, who's the senior political correspondent for BFMTV, a French network. Welcome to the program, sir.

THIERRY ARNAUD: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: So we know how the president feels about Paris. How do the French feel about Trump?

ARNAUD: Well, it's very clear that he is deeply unpopular in France. He has over 80 percent negative opinions, according to a poll published in early May, versus 90 percent - that's 9-0 - favorables for President Obama. But the second thing you have to keep in mind is that there is an overwhelming majority of the French people who make the difference between their intense dislike of President Trump and their deep gratitude for the sacrifices of American soldiers during both world wars. And as you know, what we'll be celebrating tomorrow is the hundredth anniversary of the United States and its soldiers entering World War I.

INSKEEP: And you note that shared history, which I appreciate. I wonder if there's something else that is shared here because even though Macron and Trump are so different politically and personally, they both positioned themselves as outsiders in their elections. It seems that Americans - a lot of them - voted for a big change. And it seems that a lot of French people voted for big change. Is there actually something in common between these two men?

ARNAUD: Oh, you're absolutely right. I would agree with that completely, even though they express those feelings very differently, and they behave very differently as presidents. It's quite clear that they won the election, in both cases, fighting the political establishment and making a point of doing so. Clearly, it's not quite the same in the sense that, even though he fought the Republican establishment, President Trump was the Republican candidate in the end, whereas Emmanuel Macron created his own party from scratch about a year and a half ago and basically destroyed the political family he came from, which was the Socialist Party. But other than that, Macron often says that he feels like a (speaking French) in French, in other words, an outsider, a renegade, so to speak. And that would be very familiar, I would think, to President Trump as well.

INSKEEP: But with that said, they are different on so many issues, starting with climate change. The Paris Agreement, which, of course, France supports and virtually every nation on Earth supports but that President Trump wants to get out of. They seem to disagree on NATO funding. Is this correct that France is among the countries that is not meeting its 2 percent share of GDP for NATO funding, which is something that President Trump has been very vocal about?

ARNAUD: Yes, it's - we're not there yet. But I think France is very close to the 2 percent GDP targets. It's about 1.8 right now. And France carries a lot of weight of European defense as well. And our French military forces are deployed in a number of key areas. They are part of the coalition alongside the United States in Syria and Iraq, for example. They get support from the United States fighting in Sahel against terrorists as well. So I don't think it - I don't expect that to be a major point of contention with France specifically.

INSKEEP: Is there one thing you could imagine these two presidents working together on in a constructive way?

ARNAUD: I think Syria could be an example. You have seen them these past few weeks drawing the exact same red line, saying that if Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapon, they will strike. And I think that there is some hope that he can work alongside the United States and Russia to get that peace agreement to turn into something more general.

And I think what you have to keep in mind is the one major change in French foreign policy since Emmanuel Macron has been elected is Syria. Up until then, the official line was that, first, Bashar al-Assad has to go. And second only, we can start talking about establishing a peace process. President Macron is now saying peace talks can start right now, even with Bashar al-Assad still sitting in the president's chair. And that's not that different from what President Trump is saying as well.

INSKEEP: Thierry Arnaud of BFMTV in France, thank you.

ARNAUD: My pleasure.

INSKEEP: He joined us by Skype.

Copyright © 2017 NPR.

This is what the peoples-of-color saw worldwide and used it for inspiration: The White man was not Superman/Uberman--and his yoke could be overthrown.


Stoddard writing from 1920 seems current to the fear that Donald Trump road to power in 2016 when he states that we are now to the frontiers of the white world--to its true frontiers, marked, not by boundary-stones, but by flesh and blood.

However, here is a part of Stoddard's jeremiad that Dobrian and other Trumpsters will love because it fits into their White nationalism.  In The Inner Dikes, "We come now to the frontiers of the white world--to its true frontiers, marked, not by boundary-stones, but by flesh and blood.  These frontiers are not continuous: far from the European homeland, some run in remote quarters of the earth, sundered by vast stretches of ocean and connected only by the slate-gray threads of sea-power--the master-talisman which the white man still grasps firmly in his hand.

But against these race-frontiers--these "inner dikes"--the rising tide of color has for decades been beating, and will beat yet more fiercely as congesting population, quickened self-consciousness, and heightened sense of power impelled the colored world to expansion and domination.  Above the eastern horizon the dark storm clouds lower, and the weakened, distracted White world must soon face a colored peril threatening its integrity and perhaps its existence.  This colored peril has three facilitates: the peril of arms, the peril of markets, and the peril of migration.  All three contain ominous potentialities, both singly and in combination....  A new Mohammad is quite as likely to make his appearance as a new Buddha, a reborn Confucius, or a modern Christ...."

As for immigrants Joseph Dobrjan (before name changed to sound Irish) and Aniele Slezak coming to America, has little to do with exceptionalism.  Baldwin writes has little to do with exceptionalism. 

Baldwin (The Price of the Ticket) declares that it had to do with “first works—re-examine everything, and telling the truth about it, but know whence you came:

This is precisely what the generality of white Americans cannot afford to do.  They do not know how to do it--: as I must suppose.  They come through Ellis Island, where Giorgio becomes Joe, Pappavasiliu becomes Palmer, Evangelos becomes Evans, Goldsmith becomes Smith or Gold, and Avakian becomes King.  [And Dobrjan became Dobrian.]  So with a painless change of name, and in the twinkling of an eye, one becomes a white American.  Later, in the midnight hour, the missing identity aches.  One can neither assess nor overcome the storm of the middle passage.  One is mysteriously shipwrecked forever, in the Great New World.

The Price the white American paid for his ticket was to become white--: and, in the main, nothing more than that, or, as he was to insist, nothing less.  This incredibly limited not to say dimwitted ambition has chocked may a human being to death here: and this, I contend is because the white American has never accepted the real reason for his journey.  I know very well that my ancestors had no desire to come to this place: but neither did the ancestors of the people who became white and who require of my captivity a song.  They require of me a song less to celebrate my captivity than to justify their own.”

Unworthy I may be, I deny American exceptionalism because my grandfather was a slave and Donald Trump is sitting in the White House denying that an America of "E Plurblish Urum" ever existed.  Mr. Dobrian has confused White Privilege with American Exceptionalism.

This is history Mr.  Dobrian, look it up!

Views: 35

Comment by mary gravitt on July 29, 2017 at 10:29am

If you don't know your history, someone else will claim it.  American Exceptionalism is merely another name for White Privilege.  All Americans: Black, White, Yellow and Red built this country by shedding its blood in war as well as peace.

Comment by MV Neland on July 29, 2017 at 3:59pm

Mary, again, I am smarter and better for your collecting and annotating the insightful works you bring to Our Salon that either help me personally see the bigger historical picture or to see more deeply a current issue.

Many have suspected for some time now, culminating with Trump, Bannon, and Putin, and their desire to reinforce world regional spheres of influence, that it is a white American West marriage with some white Eastern nations readying for resource wars, while all these newly rejoining white political and religious groups feverishly work to publicly degrade, devalue, and disempower their particular country's people of color, I think, with the intent to re-establish a racial pecking order by ridding their constitutions of socially protective laws and their white public of the thin line of political correctness that inhibits blatant racist attitudes and hate crimes. Much of the underlying layers of white privilege as American Exceptionism (Russia has its own version as you already know) may have eroded through conscious, just efforts, but each of these leaders, and their political parties and monied backers, are blatantly trying to breathe life back into this partially dismantled system of racial injustice.

My takeaway from what you've shared today is that we are not just in the "two steps forward, one step back" struggle as it relates to racial justice. But, that we are, in fact, struggling for the right to even address this injustice within the nations that are merging to create a white hegemony over what appears to be vast energy deposits, fertile lands, and major rivers. THAT is what I see in the Trump/Putin alliance. Not just boors and greed...But autocracy in service of a white racial identity and it's survival in an environmentally perilous time.

Comment by mary gravitt on August 1, 2017 at 11:40am

This is what is so scary about this time.  It is necessary to read Strauss and Lowe's Fourth Turning because this is what Bannon has Trump operating out of.  I don't even think that Kelly can break the bond between Trump and the Fourth Turning in which Bannon believes.  We Americans are just Lab Rats to what Bannon sees as a future.

Comment by MV Neland on August 2, 2017 at 12:51pm

It can often take a person their entire lifetime to see the larger paradigms coursing silently and  unseen like hidden underground rivers between our feet...if we ever see them at all.  For many, when they do begin to notice, a kind of panic can set in and they can become quite irritable and impatient towards others they feel do not see the obvious flow and inevitable outcomes of the paradigm. This becomes bullying, which only serves to make others recoil further from an already harsh reality. So, i appreciate people like you who both see the rivers and spend a great deal of effort f

Comment by MV Neland on August 2, 2017 at 1:32pm

It can often take a person their entire lifetime to see the larger paradigms - both good and bad - coursing silently and unseen like hidden underground rivers beneath our feet...if we ever see them at all. For many, when they do begin to notice, a kind of panic can set in and they can become quite irritable and impatient towards others they feel do not see the obvious flow and inevitable tragic outcomes of certain dangerous paradigms because they are so large and wide reaching. This understandable  panic can become bullying, which only serves to make others recoil further from an already harsh reality. So, i appreciate people like you who nervously eye the depths and then begin to gather life vests and other bouyant things to make these available to the rest of us instead of just shouting at us to swim better.

There's a theory in social movements that it doesn't take the whole group to recognize and bring about change...just a percentage...say 15-20%.  You've probably heard of it before.  It would make our work easier, but i'm not completely convinced such a small minority can bring about meaningful, lasting change. But, maybe it can be enough for now. Margaret Mead's notion that it is always a few outliers that change a culture is very similar. Maybe it's quantum physics and proton entanglement or Sheldrake's Morphic Resonance or that people naturally trend toward community sentiment and if enough people convey a new insight or vision, the community may follow, or that old ways and shortsighted thinking finally become untenable and are rejected.  But, whatever the mechanisms for large scale social consciousness raising, i DO think that we are in it.  And, that bodes well for us...if we can survive when the river flows back up on itself as it carves out a different path. So, i believe that there are two culminating forces to survive in such times - the Bannon and Trumps of the world and the ridding of them. 

Having forums and cyber relationships to share our findings and good news gives me hope.


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