We don’t need to be proud of being the leader in obesity and diabetes and back pain and rudeness.
We don’t need to be proud of being right up in the top of the world’s polluters or contributors to global warming.
We should be downright ashamed at the behavior of some of our citizens. Violence and intolerance (even if we’re not world leaders in either) are not things to be proud of.
And there are a number of reality TV shows that we contributed to the world that we should definitely not be proud of.
On the other hand, we have a lot we can be proud of as a country.
We believe in democracy. We believe in freedom. We (generally) believe we have the right to disagree with each other without consequences for our ideology (Note: Except when it comes to cleaning your room in which instance there will be consequences—not for disagreeing, but for not going along with the program.)
We believe in the goodness of moving forward with the times, both in terms of technology and in terms of treating each other well.
We believe in the healing the sick and feeding the hungry (that we don’t agree on the “how” is a different issue).
We believe that everyone has a right to vote for our leaders and that no one voice is better or more important than another (except on America’s Got Talent).
We believe in a meritocracy (most of the time).
We believe in hard work and just rewards.
Basically, we believe in being American. And that is something to be very proud of.