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America Again

Re-Becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't

by Stephen Colbert

Hardcover, 240 pages, Grand Central Publishing, List Price: $28.99 |


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Book Summary

The political satirist, comedian and host of The Colbert Report puts his signature humorous spin on health care, the economy and food, promising that this book will single-handedly fix an America that is broken and has lost its way.

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Awards and Recognition

12 weeks on NPR Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List

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Colbert: 'Re-Becoming' The Nation We Always Were

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: America Again

Chapter One

American Exceptionalism

"USA! USA! USA!" — America

I wrote another book.1 I hope you're happy. Because this book is your fault.2 You see, everywhere I go I hear bellyaching about how we as a nation have lost it. Now sure, we've taken some shots lately. We're feeling beat up, and why wouldn't we? It's like after 235 years as King of the Monkey Bars, the other kids have held us down and made us eat a bug.

But the Real Question is: are America's best days behind us? Of course they are, and always have been. We have the greatest history in the history of History. But never forget, our best days are also ahead of us, and always will be. Because America also has the Greatest Future in the history of the Future. It's our Present that's the problem ... and always is be.

Well, that ends now. This book is going to put America back on track, where it always will have been.

"But," you're thinking, "all the facts say that America is in decline." First of all, who told you to think?

Since Day One of The Report, I've said, "I don't want you to think, I want you to feel." Because if you think about America, sure we're neck-deep in debt, we're knee-deep in neck, and the dollar isn't worth the dime it's printed on.

That's why I'm asking you to feel about America. Really feel. So please, close your eyes when you're reading this book. Are they closed? Good, let's continue.

America is Exceptional.

Does that statement shock you? It shocks me to even have to say it. To be forced by your doubt to say out loud that America is exceptional implies something ugly. It's like telling the host of a dinner party, "I'm certain your wife is a female." Saying it out loud feels wrong, no matter how large her hands are. Plus, the word "is" shouldn't even be in there. It's putting too much distance between "America" and "Exceptional."


That's better. Plus it saves time. Time we could be spending with our kids. I hear what you're feeling. "But Steven, is America really exceptional? The world is full of countries. I'm sure a lot of them are pretty good." First of all, it's "Stephen."Second, yeah, if countries are your "thing," I'm sure there are thousands of countries out there. You want to live in a country, move some place else. You want to live in America, this is the only game in town. As Newt Gingrich once pinched out:

"America's greatness, America's exceptional greatness, is not based on that fact that we are the most powerful, most prosperous — and most generous — nation on earth. Rather, those things are the result of American Exceptionalism."3


Amen! America is Exceptional because of our Greatness and the source of all that Greatness is how Exceptional we are.

And the entire world knows we're exceptional — and not just because we give them a steady supply of losing Super Bowl™ team t-shirts and sit-coms about doughy guys with hot wives.

We are an unwavering beacon of limitless freedom,5 which people the world over see and say, "I want to live there. I want to be an American." That's why we must erect a 40-foot-high, 2,000-mile-long, 10,000-volt electric fence to keep those people out. There's only so much limitless freedom to go around!

Ronald Reagan said it first:6 "America is the shining city upon a hill." And no matter how dark our days, or how low we sink, we will always be shiny and hilly. Reagan also said, "I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage."He's right, America was put here by God for us to find.7


So just who came up with the term "American Exceptionalism"? Well, as you might guess, such a wholesome, all-American concept was invented by a regular Joe ... seph Stalin. You see, back in 1927, American Communists complained to their leader that Communism could never work here because we had too many resources for the proletariat to rise up. Stalin mocked the idea by calling it "American Exceptionalism." All I'm saying is, Stalin had some good ideas. We proved ourselves to be exceptional, and defeated Communism. Now all that is left of Stalin is the phrase "American Exceptionalism" and, of course, his roaming, sentient mustache, which still visits bad little boys and girls who don't say "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

America was like the sculpture existing inside the block of marble, waiting for the Artist to chip away a few Cherokee to find it.

Some people don't believe in American Exceptionalism.8 Some people won't stand up for America.9 They think that there are things in our history to be ashamed of. But I'm sorry, America is good at everything, except one thing: apologizing. Why should we apologize? Everything we've ever done has ended up creating the greatest country in the world, ergo10 everything we did was the best possible choice. Besides "hindsight is 20/20."What does that mean? I don't know. We'll have to wait until the year 2020 to find out.11

But ask yourself, what would America have been like if it had been run by the lefty apologists from the get-go? Would we have grown into an agricultural powerhouse

without our Unpaid African Internship Program? No! Would we have conquered the West if we had over-regulated the Pioneers? No! And who wants their Good Crowned by Brotherhood "from Sea to shining Scranton?"

Throughout human history, countries rise and fall. But not America — we continue to rise and rise, like dough, until Jesus bakes us in the fiery Afterscape of the Rapture.12 I don't know about you,13 but I feel like if there were a better place, GOD WOULD HAVE PUT ME IN IT. 14

The point is, America has faced hardships in the past, but we have always mounted a comeback worthy of a major motion picture starring Matt Damon. We defeated the Nazis. We defeated the Native Americans. We defeated the environment. We even defeated the Metric System. Kilos? Sorry, that's drug talk. This is America, where we eat Fruit by the Foot, not Muesli by the Meter!

So we're not going to think or apologize our way out of our current funk — we've got to genuinely feel that America is the greatest, freest, bestest nation God ever gave man on the face of this Earth. And we've got to let Her know we feel it.

You see, America is a Lovely Lady.15 Right now, too many people are looking at America and saying, "Wow, honey, you've really let yourself go." They want Her to put on the "fat pants" of Socialism.

And hey, I'm not blind. I know America's got a little junk in the trunk. She's no longer a trim 13 colonies. But that's just more of Her to love. She'll only be as pretty as you make Her feel.

Boost Her confidence. Tell Her She's beautiful from Her Purple Mountains to Her Amber Waves.16

And, let's be honest, do you think you're such a catch? Would it kill you to dress up for Her? Put on a tie. Or at the very least, make sure your sweatpants match your Crocs.17

By reading this book you are renewing your vows with This Great Nation. Give Her the time and attention She needs, and fellas, you will get lucky.18

And we all will be America Again! 19

1 By the way, I'm really liking footnotes this time. Could just be a phase. No promises.

2 The "you" I mean is any straight, non-atheist American. If you are not a citizen or are reading this book translated into another language and/or gay code, drop it and wait patiently for the proper authorities to arrive and pepper spray you.

3 A Nation Like No Other, 2011, Newt Gingrich, front cover flap. Colbert Penny Saver: Read the first eight pages for free on Amazon. You'll get the gist.


5 I'm still into that footnote thing. Could be here to stay.

6 Paraphrasing JFK, who was paraphrasing John Winthrop, who was paraphrasing Jesus. Point is, I believe Reagan will return someday.

7 Much like dinosaur bones.

8 Looking at you, Microsoft Word spell check! Time to recognize "Exceptionalism!"

9 These people are called Ameriplegics.

10 It's Latin for "I'm right."

11 Your move, Mayans!

12 Best part, America comes pre-buttered!

13 Just a turn of phrase. I know a lot about you.

14 I'm thinking footnotes are over. I'm more into putting things in bold now. Deal with it.

15 Footnotes are back!

16 Is she a natural amber? Yes! The curtains match the grain.

17 That's nothing compared to what Brazil would ask you to do.

18 But don't ask Her to do that thing. She's not into it.

19 Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert!

From America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert. Copyright 2012 by Stephen Colbert. Excerpted with permission of Grand Central Publishing.