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Yes, Americans are truly exceptional — in one respect

By Tom Morgan


A week at the Mayo Clinic got me thinking. About NFL teams, my high-school basketball team, and our Constitution. And whether Americans are exceptional. Whew!

Yes, the clinic boasts many top doctors. It is famous for them. But it also boasts a superior system. The system allows the doctors to work at their best. It gives patients quick and thorough diagnoses and treatments. The system is the crown jewel.

There are brilliant doctors elsewhere who are hampered by poor systems. I witnessed this recently in a London hospital. Its government-run system hamstrung my doctor. In the U.S., he would have done his job within a day. At the Mayo Clinic, he would have finished in half a day. In London he needed five.

Why will an NFL team win more under a different coach? Each coach creates and directs a system. Superior systems help teams win more games. We credit the players, the stars. We credit the coaches — much as we credit the doctors at Mayo. But we should give the most credit to their system. Their system of scouting, recruiting, training, practicing, and running plays. If their system was as lousy as the London hospital system, we would be screaming for a new coach. Or a new team.

The truth is that brilliant players play better under a superior system. And average players often look brilliant under a superior system. The system is the crown jewel.

My high-school basketball team played our biggest rival three times one year. They had far more talent than we did. But our coach devised an unusual strategy — an unusual defense. It buffaloed the other team. It allowed us to kill them — by 20 points the first game and by 30 the second contest. For the third meeting, the coach of the other team sprung an offense on us we had never seen. They beat us by 5 points. It stings to this day.

All this thinking led me to thoughts about our Constitution. It is our system. It is our strategy for dealing with the challenge of governing ourselves. It is a work of art. It’s a work of genius in some respects. Its core is the concept of separating power between three branches of government. This resolved problems with which countless countries had struggled. The concept of amendments allows a flexibility many constitutions lack.

The Constitution created a superior system. Proof of this is how well it has worked. Proof is that this republic has survived so long. It has survived civil war and various uprisings. And crises that brought other countries to their knees. It survives because our system, our master plan, our Constitution keeps the country intact.

You have seen our debates about whether Americans are exceptional. We are exceptional, in a major respect. We keep faith with our Constitution. We follow it. Benjamin Franklin was asked what the writers of the Constitution had given us. He replied “A republic — if you can keep it.”

We have kept it. We have kept our Constitution, our superior system. It, in turn, has allowed and encouraged Americans to achieve exceptional things. It is our crown jewel.

For centuries, people stymied by their countries’ poor systems have come to America and thrived. Under poor systems, they could not be exceptional. Under our system and its freedoms, they could and can be.

Americans have performed in exceptional fashion. They can boast exceptional achievements. They and we should bow in appreciation to our Constitution. It is a superior creation. The exceptional achievements of Americans would be far fewer without the influence of this exceptional document.

From Tom…as in Morgan.         

Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home in upstate New York. He has a new novel out, called “The Last Columnist,” which is available on Amazon. Contact Tom at, read more of his writing at, or find him on Facebook.


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