The Myth of American Exceptionalism and The End of The American Empire

30 years ago I was obsessed with the notion of ‘American exceptionalism’, so much so that when I had the opportunity to leave my hometown Melbourne to undertake an advanced Brand Management Traineeship, with the marketing juggernaut that was the sprawling Philip Morris group in NYC, I believed I had won the Lottery, to me, I was living and working at the centre of the civilised universe. 

Paul G Roberts CEO and Founder of the DESIRE GROUPE

New York or Manhattan was considered the ultimate urban experience. So many songs, so many films had long indoctrinated us all to believe this.

But now with all that has happened over the last 30 years, I have come to believe that my past perception was an illusion, and just another spin job, as the American Post War II marvel had long since faded into decay.

Just this weekend past I came across the Rolling Stone feature by Wade Davis titled “The Unravelling of America”, and in one read explained all the realisations I had mused over the past 30 years with iron clad logic and statistics.

Canadian-American anthropologist Wade Davis teaches at the University of British Columbia. He is the award-winning author of Into the Silence and The Wayfinders | Photo Credit: Ryan Hill

Wade Davis, a renowned Canadian-American anthropologist at the University of British Columbia, says his recent essay for Rolling Stone magazine has struck a nerve, racking up nearly 10 million social media impressions within a week of its publication.

“I think it speaks to a longing from people who want to understand what COVID has meant,” Davis told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s On The Coast.

The piece, called The Unravelling of America, talks about the country’s failed response to the pandemic — over 162,000 people have died in the U.S. — and what it says more broadly about American life and the country’s place in the world.

“Americans woke up to where 2,000 of them were dying every day, a moment where … they found themselves members of a failed state, serviced by a dysfunctional government, led by an individual who was literally suggesting the use of cleansing materials and disinfectants to treat a disease … he did not have the capacity to understand,” Davis said.

In the essay, he compares the state of America to B.C.’s much more effective response to the pandemic, noting on July 30, we had five people in hospital while the U.S. registered over 59,000 new cases that day.

“We have a medical system that caters to the collective, not the individual and certainly not the private investor who treats every hospital bed as a rental property,” Davis said.

Trump, not wearing a mask, listens during a White House event last Tuesday on reopening schools | Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump, whatever you may think of him, Wade argues is not the cause of the issue but rather the result of the issue. The current state of America created the absurd environment for his rise.

Wade also argues that it is a strong measure of social solidarity and trust in public institutions that helped Canada (New Zealand and Australia) respond to the pandemic.

America, he says, has “celebrated the cult of the individual with such intensity” it is affecting their response.

If you want to read a brilliant essay on what is really happening with America, I recommend you click the link in this article.

End of an American era

The COVID-19 pandemic's the end of an era for America, according to Wade Davis. He says it's had an "absolutely devastating impact" on "the reputation and international standing of the United States of America."

Posted by Breakfast on Wednesday, 26 August 2020


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