During a recent stop in Austria, Secretary of State John Kerry met with some State Department insiders in Vienna for an informal conversation. While recalling the scope of a recent commencement speech he delivered at his alma mater, Yale University, Kerry noted that it was “48 years to the day that I was privileged to speak as a graduating senior to my own class.”
Delving into the content of his speech, he explained that he focused on a theme leftists have often been accused of: denying America is any more special than any other nation.
“I get always a little uptight when I hear politicians say how exceptional we are,” he said in recapping his speech to the recent graduates.
He went on to describe those who celebrate America’s greatness as “kind of in-your-face,” noting that “a lot of other people are exceptional” and “a lot of other places do exceptional things.”
The response from many on social media was scathing.
— KissMyAmericanAss (@robfit) July 15, 2014
Prep-school elitists like @JohnKerry don’t believe in American Exceptionalism, but 10’s of thousands of kids risk their lives to come here?
— Chris Coon (@Coondawg68) July 15, 2014
— Mark (@mtsuneishi) July 15, 2014
Kerry couched his globalist rhetoric with the requisite assertion that America is, in fact, “exceptional in a certain way that no other nation is.”
He told the gathering that Americans are united by common ideals rather than the shared history of older nations.
“We are not defined by ethnicity,” he said. “We are not defined by bloodline or by anything except an idea.”
He recognized the importance of America’s founding documents in establishing “the idea that people are created equal and that all people have a chance to aspire for greatness, for anything they want.”