Proud to be an American?

Happy 4th of July! The American Flag in FireworksImage by BL1961 via Flickr

Throughout small town America today, one will see flags, fireworks, and junk food on display. A common sentiment you'll encounter is pride, and many will find it necessary to express their pride in being Americans today. I'd like to make two small contributions to this conversation, neither of which are original and one of which will be presented in video form. Yes, I am that lazy.

First, you are going to hear many people claiming that the United States is #1. Those making this claim do not usually specify what they mean, so one is left assuming that they must mean we are the best in every way imaginable. When you hear this claim, please consider the following from "10 Things Every Adult Should Know" (update: link no longer active) written by f*cking c*nts:

America is not #1. Well, not unless you count military spending and handgun related deaths. We’re shit at public education. Our health care system is both the most expensive and the least effective in the developed world. Literacy, infant mortality, per capita living below the poverty line and/or without any health insurance … etc., etc. We’re kind of horrible at a whole lot of things, if you want to be honest about it. We’re also, on average, fat as fuck.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of what we are doing right, and the progress we have made in some areas should be acknowledged. But none of this should be allowed to mask our screw-ups so much that we become blind to them. We still have a very long way to go.

Second, consider the absurdity of being proud over something that one did not do and had no control over (i.e., being born in America). But don't take my word for it. Instead, see what George Carlin had to say on the subject:

Have a good day, stay safe, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. Take pride in what you have accomplished (e.g., managing to break free from religious delusion), but don't get sucked into the mire of blind patriotism. I'll try to do the same.

H/T to toomanytribbles