It often confuses the term “exceptionalism” for racial or ethnic connotations, when in fact the founding fathers of the country understood rights to be universal and inalienable to each person, automatic, just for being a human being, independent from the fortunes and whims of any government. Government is there to secure those rights, not to assign them.
When American identity is not bound with those inalienable rights, it becomes racial and it corrupts the very idea of exceptionalism, an idea which, when properly understood is the basis of American identity. That identity has nothing to do with ownership of property or one’s genetic background.
On the other hand, the misguided claim that America’s greatness originates in white Christian European culture has become a central tenet of many of Donald Trump’s supporters. The alt-right are convinced that multiethnic democracies cannot succeed.
There is also the alt-right view that many traditional conservatives lack the will to fight the left on cultural issues.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Bannon described the heart of the movement that he believes has driven Trump to power: “The center core of what we believe — that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders, but we are a nation with a culture and a reason for being — I think that’s what unites us.”
Bannon has also defined American nationalism in opposition to Islam, especially ISIS’ pretensions to a new Islamic caliphate. Bannon said in 2014 that he is worried about the future of the “Judeo-Christian West” because “we are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism … and this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.”
Obviously there is a cultural war going on as we speak and it’s fast coming to a head. What’s at stake is democracy itself which cannot possibly survive within a cultural milieu catering to racism and political white supremacy. It is not clear as to who will come out victorious out this struggle. It’s a struggle for the preservation of democracy, liberty and our very universal humanity. It may be wise to pray for the best outcome but also prepare for the worst which won’t be pretty!