American nationalism was indicted as a cover for xenophobia and racism in the midterm elections. Yet, absent U.S. nationalism’s strongly positive side, the related concept of American exceptionalism fails.
Opponents deride American exceptionalism as braggadocio or narcissism. They point to original national failings of slavery and Jim Crow, of the late acceptance of women’s rights and equality. Proponents sometimes fail to make their case and reflexively wave the flag instead.