MINOT, N.D. — Maybe it’s because I’m a child of the Ronald Reagan years, and he talked about this concept a lot, but I’ve long believed that America is an example to the rest of the world.

Ours is the oldest existing nation with a constitutional government made up of representatives elected by the people. When we “act worthy of ourselves,” Reagan said , we can “be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope.”

In his farewell address , Reagan named two accomplishments he was most proud of. First was the nation’s economic recovery. The other was “the recovery of our morale.”

“America is respected again in the world and looked to for leadership,” he said.

All this is rooted in certain unfashionable notions about American exceptionalism, I know, and that’s odious to some who choose to see our nation only through the lens of its sins and not its aspirations and accomplishments. But Reagan was right. America is exceptional. A beacon of hope and freedom to the rest of the world.

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