Like a lot of people who have spent time abroad, I found the contrasts between Riga, Latvia, and cities in this country to be overpowering. In Riga, I felt relatively safe, even in the more grim parts of the city; I do not feel safe in the downtown portions of many American cities, including D.C. and Baltimore.
Some missionaries to European countries spoke at our church today and they talked about the terrorism drills and "random shooter" drills their children in American schools have endured, along with the overpowering nastiness of U.S. police. When I was in Riga, I did not see the kinds of violent confrontations between police and citizens as have become endemic in the USA, and we should not forget that Riga, along with the countries where our missionary friends are living, were once communist totalitarian states.
For all of the "American Exceptionalism" talk I have been hearing, I have concluded that "American Exceptionalism" means that Americans are exceptional in that they demand less freedom and liberty than people who once lived under communism. We have become "exceptional" in that sorry regard.