Despite all our problems, some American politicians these days are talking about a thing called "American Exceptionalism." It's the idea that America is fundamentally different from and better than other countries, which means we won't take kindly to having our healthcare system compared to Canada's, and we won't follow the same candy-ass United Nations rules as the Republic of Mozambique.
Or, maybe we will follow the rules.
We'll see how it goes.
The point is, we are different. We are better. We are exceptional.
That's hard to prove, of course, and it reminds me of how my WWII-veteran dad used to worry about all the praise that Tom Brokaw had heaped on his generation. "Ladies and gentleman," Dad imagined the public address annoucer saying in heaven, "please welcome Thomas Dwight Murray, a member of … 'The Greatest Generation!'" He thought he'd have a hard time looking Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln in the eye.
Not as humble as my dad—it's a generational thing—and I've been contemplating the idea of … David Murray Exceptionalism. I can certainly make a case.
I am not perfect, but I haven't done that much really horrible stuff in my life. Well, maybe some stuff. Put it this way: There is a lot of bad stuff that a person can do that I haven't even come close to doing!
Secondly: My mother always described me as "a genius," "sensitive" and "a dear lamb." My mother was a fantastic person and a great judge of character. (My father occasionally told me, "The world does not revolve around David Murray." But that was only a scientific fact, not some kind of moral judgment.)
And my parents haven't been the only ones who have said wonderful things about me. When I was about 10, a barber told me I was mature for my age. My first boss told me I was a "lively writer." My wife once said, "You don't know a stranger." That's about the nicest thing you can say about anybody, I figure.
But more to the point, I feel exceptional. Sitting around the drinking table, I find I often have insights that others don't have. Also: I'm wonderfully well-rounded, a fan of professional football and Amadeus Mozart! And, unlike some people I know, I'm always open to learning new things. You see, I believe in lifelong learning.
There is more—there is much more—but I'm sure enough of myself that I feel no need to toot my own horn.
You don't have to agree with my David Murray Exceptionalism Theory of course. But what I will no longer do is hide the fact that I believe it! When you think about it, what theory would you expect me to ascribe to, You Exceptionalism?
As Mike Huckabee says about American exceptionalism, "To deny American exceptionalism is to deny the heart and soul of this nation."
Similarly, to deny David Murray Exceptionalism is to say my mother was a liar.
I wouldn't go there if I were you.