Liberty and Freedom
What’s So Great About America
Andrew Ferguson Published on The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com)
Marco Rubio will have to write a new speech sooner or later, but he shouldn’t hurry up on our account. We still enjoy the one he’s been giving all year. He delivered it again to a national television audience on Election Night, after walloping not one but two formidable opponents in his campaign for a vacant Florida Senate seat. Along with his gift for wooing voters, the speech has made Rubio, according to a chorus of news accounts, a “rising star”—even, said one Vanity Fair writer who should know, a “matinee idol.” Republicans might want to ponder why.
The theme of the speech, and the source of its power, is American exceptionalism. “It’s sometimes easy to forget how special America really is,” Rubio says. “But I was raised by exiles . . . by people who clearly understand how different America is from the rest of the world.” Rubio’s parents, who fled Castro’s tyranny, taught him this difference by their words and by their example. Rubio makes his case for American exceptionalism with both an appeal to authority—the word of his parents—and an appeal to experience: The good life America offered them is itself proof that his country, in its political, social, and economic arrangements, is unlike any other in history.