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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe AmericasThe Insurrection and Its Discontents: American Exceptionalism Revisited

The Insurrection and Its Discontents: American Exceptionalism Revisited

Author: Ramzy Baroud 

Affiliation: Independent Journalist and Palestinian Historian 

Organization/Publisher: Politics Today 

Date/Place: January 18, 2021/USA

Type of Literature: Opinion 

Word Count: 1000 


KeywordsAmerica, Trump, Democracy, Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent 




With the storming of Capitol Hill on 6th January, it seemed as if American democracy had been upended and commentators understood it as the final nail in the coffin driven by the presidency of Donald Trump. However, the author argues that it exposed already-existing cracks in the American system and that political affiliations of people have not really changed. Quoting Noam Chomsky, he explains that America is in fact a plutocracy with certain platforms to express dissent in order to provide an illusion of democracy. This has also left opposite ends of the political spectrum to follow different political realities and find great difficulty in trusting one another. Both claim to be champions of democracy, yet their visions are starkly different. The elites used to rally both sides under the guise of ‘American exceptionalism’ where it was exempt from democratic standards when intervening and invading foreign lands, but that is changing. The public deeply distrusts the elite and the media. From the ‘Manifest Destiny’ doctrine to invading Iraq under false pretext, US Presidents were able to garner support from both sides of the political spectrum. That link seems to have broken now as the public is skeptical of the state. This gives the US a window to strengthen its democracy and discard old ways of manufacturing consent. It also serves to devalue the false exceptionalism the US has been awarded and which it has abused since it became a superpower. 


By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Intern



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