With July Fourth upon us, many are pausing to ask why America is special -- and how we see that reflected in our politics. The Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin kicked off the debate early with his first episode of HBO's "The Newsroom." In a scene that has generated a lot of buzz, a young woman rises from a college audience to ask the protagonist (played by Jeff Daniels) what makes America the greatest nation on Earth. He shrugs her off: "The New York Jets." Pressed by the moderator to give a real answer, he dodges again. Eventually the protagonist breaks -- and delivers a jeremiad, declaring that America is no longer the greatest country in the world, that it is losing its soul, but that it used to be great and, yes, can still right itself.
Gergen, David, and Michael Zuckerman. "2012 Winner Must Unite America on Ideals." CNN.com, July 3, 2012.