No one is entirely sure if it began as a joke, but someone tweeted ahead of the New Year about how “cool” it was that the United States would be celebrating its 2014th birthday.
Huffington Post published a very brief post that included the tweet with no editorial comment. A slew of people then posted comments on the post. Some were clearly having fun with it, but a very large number, if not the majority, seemed to accept the idea that the number of the calendar year also indicates the age of the nation.
As if to demonstrate that idiocy, and not just ingenious inventions or groundbreaking discoveries, can occur simultaneously but in complete isolation from each other, another person tweeted about how “cool” it was the Earth was now 2014 years old, and a chorus of commenters chimed in to agree that it was, indeed, very “cool.”
Taking all of this together, I can’t help but think that we may have finally, if arbitrarily, taken the concept of American exceptionalism to its end point: if the nation and the planet had the same date of origin, then nothing else in history, human or otherwise—nothing else measurable in time—would matter beyond the history of the nation. The creator would be not just anthropomorphic–and creation, anthropocentric–but the creator would be a Patriot with a capital P.
One would be left to wonder if the dinosaurs fought alongside Washington or with the British and Hessians.