Jeb Bush at the recent Faith and Freedom Coalition conference said immigrants are more likely to start and succeed in small business than American-born citizens. I assume that in making such a statement there are the statistics that bear that out. Given Bush is correct, what does that say about our long-held belief in American exceptionalism. Granted, we have never believed that the American people are in any manner superior to any other people around the globe. Rather, we believe that American exceptionalism is rooted in the convergence of many fundamental concepts, e.g., limited government, free enterprise and rugged individualism, and the heritage of our nation and its unsurpassed Constitution.
How, then, is it possible that immigrants, not raised in this environment can nonetheless excel over our own people? How can immigrants, not exposed to all the opportunities granted the American people in the course of their growing up, out-perform Americans? Do Bush's remarks, in effect, constitute an indictment against our national education system? We have known for years that the education system in America, for the most part, is failing our children. The liberals and progressives who have exerted undue influence in the system for several decades now have left it in complete ruin. We hear and use the term "dumbing down" so much that we have de-sensitized ourselves to the problem. We have learned to accept lower educational standards for our children. We have learned to accept greater and greater costs to educate our children without accountability from those to whom the money flows. Now comes Common Core, the complete takeover of the education system by the federal government (meaning the far left). What little integrity and effectiveness remains in our education system will be completely destroyed by Common Core, as the system will complete the final leg of its journey away from a knowledge-based instructional system to a system of indoctrination and propagandism. But that is another discussion.
The truth is, American exceptionalism is not a "right" nor a guarantee. Yes, you can be born an American citizen, grow up in the midst of all that is America, and never be exceptional. American exceptionalism is not a birthright, but it is a standard. For to those who embrace it, who work hard and run the race well, their dreams are possible, albeit not certain. But possible is enough for hope, and it is hope that compels people to commit to dreams and to endure the inevitable hardships.
American exceptionalism is a support structure, if you will, that avails itself to anyone at any time who is willing to work hard. It is an American exclusive here for the taking. But it is fragile, and the assault on its mighty underpinnings by the far left is fierce and relentless. It cannot prevail under big government. It cannot prevail if the rights and privileges accorded us by the Constitution begin to falter at the hands of immoral men hungry for power and control over us all. Ironically, those who drink from the well of American exceptionalism are not necessarily those who are charged with its protection. Only Americans can protect and preserve American exceptionalism, handing it down to the next generation. Immigrants, though grateful beneficiaries, cannot participate it its preservation until they achieve citizenship status.
So, why do immigrants succeed while Americans fail? One word - motivation. Immigrants come to America knowing it is THE best hope in all the world where the freedom to succeed can be had. Our own children, however, are raised with an entitlement attitude that robs them of the motivation and personal responsibility necessary to compete and to thrive. For now, American exceptionalism is alive, however bruised. And it remains available to anyone of any background who is prepared to appropriate it for their benefit. If Americans are either unwilling or incapable to do so, then by all means, let the immigrants step forward.