Here's what I think patriotism should be about:
1. The United States was the first modern country that enshrined a peaceful transfer of power from one political faction
2. The United States created a Constitution based on the rights of man, rather than the will of God.
3. The United States embedded the ability to become "a more perfect union". To grow and change the laws of the land based on an evolving understanding of Freedom, Science, Safety, Population, etc.
4. The United States enshrined Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, in order to protect us from too much Governmental power, believing that sunlight and freedom of expression is the best vaccine against tyranny.
5. The United States, despite many past and current injustices, has made enormous progress over the last 241 years in granting more rights, more equality, more freedom, more freedom of arts and expression and encouraged aspirations to be egalitarian.
6. The United States has twice helped establish peace during World Wars.
7. The United States was instrumental in helping the world rebuild after WW2 and also in establishing the United Nations, which eventually could bring democracy to the world.
8. The United States provides more humanitarian aid to the world than any other country in the history of the world.
9. The United States is still the leading driver of innovation in Science and Health.
10.The United States will continue to evolve, through the good intentions and actions of its people, to become more just and more free and more egalitarian to its citizens and global family over the course of time.
These things above is why I can celebrate the 4th. Not because we think we're the best or the wealthiest or the strongest or the chosen or have any claim on righteousness or perfection or manifest destiny.
And all of those things can disappear quickly if we don't continue to fight for those principles of truth, justice, freedom, equality, & expression. Its not a given, it has been hard-earned and we have a very long way to go to live up to the aspirations (not just the limited, time-bound vision) of our founders.
So today is a celebration and also a dedication to our ideals and a commitment to strive in our own ways to bring about a more perfect United States and a better world.
Happy 4th of July. It's up to each of us to make the next one even happier.