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EXCEPTIONALISM

Until NAUTICAL LOG came to be based in the USA some forty-five years ago and subsequently retired here one had never heard of the word "exceptionalism".  Not found in all American-English dictionaries it can be "Googled®" and is explained as:
  • The condition of being unique
  • The theory that a nation does not conform to a pattern
This is a status often claimed most often by public figures for the United States of America.  While it may have once been partly true it no longer applies.  Americans used to observe the minor laws while breaking the major ones one has heard it said that Americans would pay the parking meter while robbing the bank - again no longer true if it ever was.  There has been a steady decline in recent decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations to were today we have arguments, fights and indeed gunfights over such minor things as parking spaces.  Our cities both major and minor have an unbelievable level of violence - Chicago immediately comes to mind as a prime example today even with its colourful history of violent crime in the 1920's and 1930's.

In the area of education and speech the standards never that high among the general U.S. population are now lower and one frequently hears public figures such as TV reporters unable to put a correct sentence together even allowing for the differences between American-English and English-English while broadcasting in the field.  When their words are written and edited for them to read with the aid of prompters to studio cameras many mistakes and mispronounced words are all too common.   The use of adverbs in a sentence seems to be unknown.  One continually sees abbreviations such as PRESSER for an upcoming press conference.  The result of this is that both teachers and students  write using these abbreviations and alphanumeric combinations in "tweets".  Thus they cannot write a clear report in American-English let alone classic English to describe life's events or clearly describe a situation, visit the court system or serve on a jury it will be an experience.  General knowledge always at a very low level in America is now at a disastrous level of appalling ignorance.  Open debate and diversity of opinion which should be the strength of a University are now surpressed both by the college administrators and the students unions.  Are civics taught anymore?

When NAUTICAL LOG took a USCG Master's examination the examination modules consisted of questions with several possible answers from which to select, all one had to do was check a box and move on.  Hardly a demanding intellectual challenge.  A two hour examination in Europe thus took about twenty minutes here in America including the time to double check the selected answers.  Later when teaching Nautical Science and the maritime law equivalence examination the modules were send from a British University and the U.S. candidates were shocked to see they had to write essay answers.  Most had never done this as both High School and College modules were in the same format as the USCG modules - tick a box get a degree.  One has to question this educational system when it results - as far as maritime affairs are concerned - in tragedies such as the MS El Faro sinking and the behavior leading to the many dismissals in the USN these last years particularly the disgraceful "Singapore Sling" affair of some of this Nations highest ranking Naval Officers.

So were did all this moral decline in social behavior and interaction come from?  One has only to look at the shoddy education system which does not really prepare the American youth to compete in the modern world.  The level of arts and entertainment on the various channels of TV are of a very low standard.  Situation comedies are of a pathetic intelligence level with hysterical laughter at the most inane remarks of the actors - whose abilities and talents are few - this laughter is of course canned there is in fact no studio audience.  The late night shows they tell me since NAUTICAL LOG does not watch this rubbish, consist of insults, belittling those few who are trying to some degree to govern and generally make crude "jokes" about current events.  One has also been told that the live audience is instructed when to applaud and laugh by signs held up off camera.  This sadly is now the normal behaviour of this supposedly exceptionalism Nation - groupthink.

And what of the future?  Looking at the recent campaign for President and the behavior of the candidates in general put forward by their respective Political Parties one is definitely not encouraged.  The candidates displayed to the World weakness, bombastic, crude and arrogant behavior none of it worthy of earning a vote.  Coming down - and one does mean down - to the final two one from each Party U.S. voters could only choose from an arrogant women whose style was more akin to that of a British Colonial displaying extraordinary arrogance enhanced by outright untruthfulness who called her fellow Americans who did not support her "deplorables".  The other candidate, who was elected by the Electoral College unique to the Presidential Race, made at every campaign stop loud, bombastic, flamboyant, exaggerated, divisive, poorly worded speeches.  Over time he insulted every ethnic group in the Nation using childish - here one insults young people - nicknames for many persons involved.  Now that his election is confirmed and he is office he still makes these campaign speeches on occasions arousing the worst examples of exceptionalism behavior.   This fellows the pattern of those leaders of the Italian, German, and Spanish National Socialist Parties so one has to wonder were the Nation goes from here.

The personal family of NAUTICAL LOG is multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-lingual most of us are immigrants who became U.S. Citizens. We can identify with many of the ethnic groups in the United States of America.  Having adult children and young grandchildren one has to be concerned that the Nation which started out as unique is now very much in decline lacking moral values from the Federal government on downward.  What if anything does it hold for these young people who are growing up with misplaced values or worse little or none at all.   We slip steadily towards that status by which the United States call many other Nations - Third World. 

Stephen Hawking has said that the World shall need another planet to move to in about hundred years - will there be an United States of America by that time?


Good Watch.

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