American Exceptionalism is the belief that the United States is unique in its place in history, and in many ways, superior to other nations and societies.
Moral Relativism and Multiculturalism form the belief that the United States is not unique nor superior, and that the US should be more like other countries. This belief system is hostile to the ideal of American Exceptionalism and generally focuses on the faults of the US rather than its virtues.
American Exceptionalism is abhorrent when it is based on xenophobia, prejudice, tribalism, jingoism, or bigotry. Suggesting America is superior simply because it is the place of one's birth is absurdly ignorant.
But American Exceptionalism is proper when it is founded on American civil liberties: free speech, free exercise of religion, rule of law, upward mobility, equality of gender, equality of race and creed, democratic representative government, free markets, etc.
Multiculturalism is proper when it is founded on dialogue, appreciation of history and culture, comparative studies, and general open-mindedness regarding other societies.
Moral Relativity and Multiculturalism become abhorrent when critical thought is abandoned. Too often this belief system refuses to make judgments. And when the judgments are reached, they tend to blame the US first, often through hyperbolic arguments.
The diplomacy of Barack Obama has intentionally stepped away from the American Exceptionalism of the Bush Administration. His administration has pursued what could be described as an international apology tour. It is based on the mistaken belief that those who hate America will change their minds once we admit they have reason to hate America. I hope our President soon returns to the nobler thoughts found in his Inaugural Speech:
We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.
And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.
We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.
And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall heal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
These are inspiring words, spoken by someone who exemplifies American Exceptionalism. I did not and will not vote for our president, nor will I support most of his policies. But I take pride in this country, where a biracial son of a foreignor, with a Muslim name, could rise to lead our government. It speaks to how truly exceptional is this place called America.