They both believe that America is a “shining city on a hill.”
Some of you may remember that I questioned the way Eric Metaxas used this phrase in his book If You Can Keep It. You can read the criticism here.
Now it is Hillary Clinton who is playing the “city on a hill” and American exceptionalism card. Granted, Clinton’s “city on a hill” is not as overly providential at Metaxas’s use of the term, but the rhetoric of American exceptionalism is similar.
Here is Ryan Teague Beckwith’s piece at Time on Clinton’s use of this language:
In her address, she also heartily endorsed the concept of American exceptionalism, going even further to call America “indispensable” and citing two Republican presidents in her speech to the American Legion.
“The United States is an exceptional nation,” she said. “I believe we are still Lincoln’s last, best hope of Earth. We’re still Reagan’s shining city on a hill. We’re still Robert Kennedy’s great, unselfish, compassionate country. … In fact, we are the indispensable nation.”
It was an argument aimed squarely at the veterans of an organization that lists “Americanism” as one of its central pillars. But it was also a way of turning one of the Republican lines against Obama back against the party’s own nominee.
Read the entire piece here.
This may be the first time a Democratic candidate has the phrase “city on a hill” since John Kennedy in 1961.
On why the use of this phrase is problematic as a way to describe American exceptionalism, click here.
Thanks to longtime reader and commentator Tom Van Dyke for bringing this article to my attention.