As a black woman, I wholeheartedly agree with Cuomo. Better than the day before is what we are and hopefully what we will continue to be.
As a 1st generation middle eastern person, my father would tell about the horrors he had to endure growing up in the craphole war torn country he came from, and how grateful I should be to live in, and grow up, here in America. Those lessons never left me. My dad, came to this country with $600 in his pocket and an acceptance letter to Northeastern. Today he is an everyday millionaire, the kind that invested and worked hard his entire life. We live in the greatest Meritocracy the world has ever known, history is crystal clear on this. That goes for all people regardless of race or gender.
America is only not great when compared to a non-existent utopia.
That's all great and I'm happy for you. But you must understand your father's testimony is that of an exceptional person and comes from a certain time in our nation's history. My parents were Italian and German. They are both beautiful, prosperous countries now, but in their lifetimes, they were once craphole war torn countries that would make Syria look like Mr. Roger's neighborhood. Things can change in one or two generations.
Meritocracy is great, and we all grew up believing in it. But everyone can't be exceptional. The testimony of the other 98% matters too.
Not everyone can be exceptional, but everyone can benefit from exceptionality. And the most successful systems at fostering exceptionality are meritocracies. I don't think that can be discounted.
Not everyone benefits from a few's 'exceptionality'. Maybe in theory, but not in practice. Kind of like communism.
I think you might be confusing the massive disparity in benefits from exceptionalism with a complete lack of benefit. I can't think of a person in America who has not benefited from someone else's exceptionalism. Of course, you can point to extreme outliers like a guy who was crushed by a falling beam that was meant to be part of constructing a commerce building, as a sort of Butterfly effect-like consequence. But America's expected living standards are what they are because of exceptionalism. I don't think that part is disputable.
Is the massive disparity in benefits from exceptionalism healthy? At current levels, probably not. But deconstructing the meritocracy is like putting a cast on the healthy leg. That's not quite where the structural problem is.