By Shmully Hecht
Washington Post political reporter Karen Tumulty wrote Monday about the growing use of the idea of “American exceptionalism” by political conservatives as a “battle cry from a new front in the ongoing culture wars.”Sarah Palin and many other prominent conservatives assert that “God has granted America a special role in human history.” It is this belief about America’s destiny that they say is “under attack” by liberals who downplay America’s distinctiveness.
Are these leaders saying that America has a special relationship with God?
How do you interpret this?
I know of a family whose son came home with a poor test score which surprised and distressed them since he is a smart boy who has done well in his classes.
The parents carefully monitor their child’s studying and so they knew also that he was putting in enough effort to achieve at least passing grades. They were concerned enough to schedule an appointment with the school where they discovered that in fact, their son did not fail the test, the teacher failed the class. This was true literally, but also figuratively in the sense that the teacher, by giving a test on which no student did well, did not live up to his leadership role to educate. Instead, he used his power to punish.
There are many reasons I love this country. I am proud and thankful to have been born here in the sixth generation of Hechts on this great American soil. I think the most important virtue of our nation is that the pursuit of fairness guides every level of society. No one, from the poorest and least powerful among us, on up to the president, lives or works outside of the scrutiny of equal justice. There have always been abuses and there were times in the past where justice was not even for all people of all races and faiths, but as America gets older and more true to its Ideal, our commitment to letting justice permeate evenly through all classes gets stronger and better. In this area, there should be no mistake that America continues to lead the world.
No one is above the law in this country, not even — and especially — our lawmakers and enforcers.
Throughout this year, I was notified of a case that impacted my own community deeply, and which now is gaining attention in wider society as an example of possible judicial overreach. I have been quoted by the Associated Press as alleging that there was anti-Semitism in the US attorneys office, and that is something I believe more today than I did when the case started. In the trial of Sholom Rubashkin, of the former agri-processors kosher slaughterhouse, it seems presiding Judge Linda Reade may have worked too closely in both the planning of the initial raid on the meat processing plant as well as been privy to or even perhaps directive of the prosecution in her own courtroom. Any such actions would be considered to have violated Rubashkin’s right to a fair trial; a sacred right enshrined in our Constitution. Moreover, his unusually long sentence of 27 years (effectively life) should be reviewed in comparison to the average time for the banking crimes for which Rubashkin was convicted.
Dozens of United States congressmen have now joined a chorus of legal scholars and others in asking Attorney General Holder to investigate the case, to see if indeed, there were the kind of irregularities at the top that are not tolerated in our fair system.
Democrat Whip at Large Richie Neal has, for example, asked Holder for “full and fair consideration to the misconduct that occurred between the prosecutors and the presiding judge in this case.”
Of the strongest signs (and reasons) that America is a blessed nation, is that even in a time of worldwide political and economic crises, ours is a country where at every level, from the federal court where a man’s lifetime hangs in the balance, to a grade school classroom, we have the right to shine the light of equality and justice on everyone.