The pros and cons of American Exceptionalism

By Irene Cohen and Ellie Mulvaney

Exceptionalism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines this word as the condition of being different from the norm.

In the context of a nation, it becomes an ideology, one that believes that a particular country or region is inherently different than its counterparts, and significantly more remarkable.

In America, this conception affects how we live and develop, but the question is; is this more helpful or harmful?

To start, let’s take a look at some benefits of American Exceptionalism. One key benefit is the ability of exceptionalism to foster entrepreneurship in up-and-coming generations. According to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, 84% of children are earning more than their parents as of 2017. This can partially be attributed to the desire of many Americans to reduce international reliance and produce the majority of products in the country. This strengthens the workforce, and actually creates jobs in the nation, given the exceptionalist mindset leads to highlighting “made in America,” as superior to overseas production.

A second contributing factor to the increasing entrepreneurship comes from the belief that America presents opportunities for everyone. In the assumption that America is, indeed, exceptional, comes the theory that America is so outstanding that anyone can create something out of nothing in this country. The validity of this statement is arguable, and no answer can be absolute, because it’s so subjective, but this positive reinforcement and encouragement can give citizens a drive to push themselves up on the socioeconomic ladder.

American Exceptionalism, in certain instances, can also lead to a constructive patriotism in its citizens. As an effort to maintain the reputation, or rank, of the country, Americans may strive more to improve conditions within. This can include policy reform, like firearm restrictions, education, environment, and economic affairs, as well as judicial undertakings and criminal justice. The more inspired a person is to improve their nation, the more likely they are to vote, protest, etc. to make a change.

On the flip side, American Exceptionalism is not all positive. American Exceptionalism often creates the idea in many of its citizens that Americans can do no wrong. This leads to them believing that they should have the final say, not anyone else. This is clearly illustrated by many poll findings of a majority of Americans thinking that U.S. soldiers should not be tried internationally for war crimes, unlike Europeans who do think their soldiers should be allowed to be tried internationally for war crimes. Another instance of this decision making bias is Americans being much more opposed to letting international organizations decide what they should do regarding global warming, starkly contrasting the opinions of other Western countries’ populations.

Another drawback of American Exceptionalism is that it does not foster a good sense of community. An August, 2004, Pew and Council on Foreign Relations poll found that while most Americans thought that they were not respected as much globally as they used to be, that same poll found that Americans did not rank improving foreign relationships very high on their list of international goals. This poll shows while Americans acknowledge that they don’t have the best relationships with foreign countries, they feel as if that is not a necessity. American Exceptionalism breeds the idea that you only need to look out for yourself, you don’t need to work with others to get ahead in life.

After looking at both pros and cons of American Exceptionalism, it is ridiculous to think that one could objectively answer the question, is it more helpful or harmful? Like everything, people have their opinions with their own reasoning behind it depending on their values. Some may think that American Exceptionalism benefits us more than hindering us, but someone else could think that it was harmful. Both opinions are valid and have many points to back up their statement, and that is why you can’t objectively say whether it’s good or bad.

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Netflix could be giving ‘Hannibal’ a fourth season

By: Teah Henry

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‘Hannibal’ was a TV drama series that aired on NBC. The show was about Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic psychiatrist, and the FBI criminal profiler Will Graham. The show explored their relationship, and was highly praised by critics for its visuals and good characters.

Unfortunately, not many people watched the show while it was airing. Despite being loved by critics, the show was cancelled after its third season due to low viewership, and was only on for a little over two years.

The show was well liked by the people that did watch it, and it gained a pretty loyal fanbase (labeled Fannibals). Many fans enjoyed the way the show represented Hannibal and Will’s relationship with each other. Throughout the series, Will becomes more and more involved with Hannibal, which brings out the violent side of him that he tries to push down. The two become co-dependent, and their relationship has romantic undertones. 

The season three finale ended with Hannibal and Will Graham defeating the serial killer they had been trying to catch for the past few episodes. They hug and Will throws them off a cliff together. It can be seen as a definitive ending, with them dying together after their fall. However, there is also a possibility they survived, especially since the people working on the show wanted to create more seasons. 

‘Hannibal’ appeared on Netflix in the beginning of June, giving hope to the fans that they would pick it up for a fourth season. Netflix has picked up cancelled shows before such as ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Arrested Development’. There’s a good chance it will be picked up, as the entire cast and the creator would be happy with filming a season 4, and given Netflix’s history with cancelled shows.

The cast also had a reunion about two months ago. Nothing is confirmed, but there’s a lot of hope in the air for a fourth season of ‘Hannibal’.

How likely is it to get robbed in your life?

By: Jimmy Somerville

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I am here asking the question: How likely it is to get robbed in your life in America? What are the odds?

According to the FBI website, FBI: UCR, robbery in America happens on average 150 times per year, per 100,000 of the population (in 2007). So the chance of being robbed in one year is 1 out of 667 so 0.0014%. Over a 4-year period, the chances of being robbed is out of 1 in 167 so 0.00598% (There are also many other variables that go into this. If you live in an area with a higher crime rate, the odds of you getting robbed increase, while if you live in an area with a lower rate of crime, the odds of you getting robbed decrease).

The average American lifespan is 78.5 years, so I rounded up to 80 and did the math. The odds of you being robbed while living 80 years in America (assuming you live  somewhere near the average of the average crime rate in America) is 0.11994%, according to my math. So, basically around a 1/10 chance you get robbed living in the average American town over 80 years.

Honestly, I thought the odds would be a little bit higher, but then again, I don’t know that many people personally, that have gotten robbed. I also wonder how much property needs to be stolen for it to be considered a statistic, and I bet some robberies go undocumented or unheard of. Maybe some people get robbed without even knowing it as well.

There’s a lot of information we don’t know, but that’s probably as accurate as we’re going to be able to get.

All of this is based off of data from 2007. Since 2007, the robbery rate has dropped 33% but
most people alive in America right now we’re alive quite a bit before 2007, as the median age in
America is 38.2 years old, so I figured choosing a statistic from an earlier time would be more
accurate for most people. The crime rate is always shifting so it’s hard to tell, but choosing the
statistics from 2007 made sense to me (it may not though).

Thanks for reading!

Seasonal Depression

By Nora Doyle and Olivia Miller

Image by: Alisha Naidu and Pranav Misra

Ever feel yourself slipping into a funk right around when the weather starts to get cooler, and your motivation is pretty much in the gutter? Maybe you start to have trouble staying awake, or trouble concentrating. This may be more than just a recurring funk.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, (kind of funny, right?) is common in young adults and even more so in women. In fact, it is 4 times more likely for women to have SAD.

According to Mayo Clinic, most cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder appear during late fall or early winter and go away when the sunny warm weather of spring and summer begin. But in some cases, symptoms can appear in the spring and summer, and go away in the fall and winter.

Although SAD can cause a drastic change to someone’s daily life, it is actually very common, affecting over 10 million Americans according to Psychology Today.

There are quite a few symptoms that can be recognized as Seasonal Affective Disorder. These include feeling depressed daily and for most of the day, losing interest in previously enjoyed activities, having low energy, trouble sleeping or trouble staying awake, changes in appetite or weight, feeling sluggish or easily agitated, difficulty concentrating, feeling worthless and or hopeless, and frequent thoughts of death or suicide. So yes, it can be very serious .

There are some differences in the symptoms of SAD in the fall/winter time than the ones in the spring/summer time. For example during the fall/winter time some of the symptoms are oversleeping and gaining weight, while in the spring/summer time some of the symptoms can be not getting enough sleep and you may even lose some weight rather than gain it.

A few things can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder according to the Mayo Clinic. The three big ones are your circadian rhythm, serotonin levels, and melatonin levels.

Your circadian rhythm is like your inner clock. Your inner clock has to do with the cycle of the moon and sun. The decrease in sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

Serotonin is the chemical in the brain that affects mood. Reduced sunlight can also cause a drop in serotonin, triggering depression.

The change in season can also disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin. Melatonin plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. There are some factors that may increase the risk of SAD. Factors include family history, having major depression or bipolar disorder, and living far from the equator.