The U.S. is a beacon still
The flow toward freedom
President Obama might not believe in American exceptionalism, but thousands of Central Americans sure do. They are sending their kids here by the tens of thousands. They must think this is a pretty special country if they are risking their children's lives to send them here unaccompanied through deserts crawling with poverty, disease and drug cartels.
The wave of children flowing illegally over the nation's southern border is a humanitarian crisis. If 50,000 children were sent alone across African deserts or Eastern European mountains, the United Nations would be summoned to protect them. The only reason they do not need that aid is because they have arrived in the land of plenty, where they will not starve or be sold into slavery or left to die.
That truth is lost in all of the finger pointing and political posturing regarding the fate of these kids. They are safe because they came to America, and they came to America because they knew that here - and here alone - they would find both immediate safety and a future.
The academic Shelby Steele wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2011 that here in America "the values that made us exceptional have been smeared with derision. Individual initiative and individual responsibility - the very engines of our exceptionalism - now carry a stigma of hypocrisy."
He was referring to the left's vision of America as a hopelessly corrupt nation rooted inextricably in the great evils of racism, sexism, militarism and unearned hubris. Read any left-of-center publication and you will encounter this theme repeatedly. American exceptionalism, rugged individualism, equality of opportunity, all of these great national ideals are derided as myths at best, or even worse, deliberate deceptions.
Listen to any random Elizabeth Warren speech and you probably will hear how the deck is stacked against the have-nots, how America is a land ruled by sinister plutocrats who prey on the weak so effectively that those on the bottom have no hope of rising.
Scores of thousands of Central Americans have a very different view of this country. Apparently the message that America is an irredeemable oligarchy where the poor are doomed to hunger and misery did not filter down to the poor of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras - places where the poor actually are doomed to lives of hunger, misery and violence.
They don't send their children to the socialist paradises of Venezuela or Cuba. They send them to the United States of America. Maybe the left should send teams of community organizers to the detention centers to tell these poor children to slip back into Mexico and board the first boat to Cuba. We hear they have free universal health care there.