All eyes are upon you, America, but your city has lost its shine

Justice Malala, who is based in Los Angeles, shares his experience of the presidential elections

05 November 2020 - 20:23

Academics have a nifty name for that “thing”, that je ne sais quoi, that American politicians display when they travel the world. They call it “American exceptionalism” — the idea that the US is a special nation, born of revolution and steeped in liberty and equality, and anointed to lead and bend the world to its vision.

To articulate the roots of this exceptionalism, modern American presidents from John F Kennedy to Barack Obama have found themselves quoting John Winthrop, who said in March 1630 to his countrymen: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people upon us.”..

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