Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Exceptionalism or Behind the Curve?

I remember growing up thinking that the United States was the best.

And then I remember reading, in history class, how the United States was one of the last Western countries to abolish slavery. I further learned, on reading Anna Karenina in Russian Literature, that at about the same time as the U.S. Civil War, the Russians also were discussing "the matter of the serfs." Emancipation and the ending of slavery was (and remains) a global movement, not isolated to any one country.

As I'm reading the books I bought while on retreat, I find myself thinking about the United States, Catholicism, and Protestant denominations. Specifically, about how Catholicism is a global religion, while both Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ seem to be United Statesian denominations (both include global outreach, groups like the UU Service Committee and a similar UCC organization).

I begin to wonder if this Americentric religious thought leads to the Americentric perspectives on social issues. Which makes me wonder if it was my Catholic education that taught me to look at abolition as a more global phenomenon, not limited to the Civil War era.

There are several other issues that I've considered over the years, that also show European leadership while the U.S. drags its feet.

In every case, the U.S. is not better than Europe, and is often the global worst.

Now, I know many people like to complain that Europeans have "Socialism." But I'd like to remind you that those same Europeans have been our Allies for a very long time. Many of those nations are founding members of NATO.

I'll leave you with this: