It's the 4th of July, and needless to say there's plenty of the usual talk floating around about the importance of taking pride in this fine land of ours.
Now at the very least I'm willing to admit that this "pride" thankfully isn't a relative thing; No one's saying that your pride in America should be greater than your pride in, say, Uganda. Obviously, it's a matter of ownership. I bring this up only because as flag-wavers go, there's no more obnoxious or annoying group than that which says, "This is the best country on earth," without actually having a passport which proves travel anywhere beyond the local Wal-Mart.
It's easy to put something on a pedestal when you've never compared it to anything else. It's also galactically goddamned stupid and renders your opinion basically worthless.
But pride, as bandied about on this day, is a simple and basic notion -- which in no way negates its power or importance. That said, allow me to offer a minor suggestion on the occasion of our country's 230th birthday.
Pride in America is easy.
Of course you're proud to be an American. You'd be a fool not to be. You hit the socio-economic lotto and were born as a member of -- or possibly migrated legally to -- the global elite. You live in the world's preeminent superpower. We have most of the world's food, most of the world's wealth, little of the world's soccer prowess (but why nitpick?) and a substantial portion of the world's might. Being proud to be American is like saying that you're proud to be the prom queen. Sure it may be true, but remember how much everyone hated and resented the girl who thought like that back in high school?
So here's a thought... Be humbled to be an American.
If you need something to put you in the necessary frame of mind (call it "spirit" if you'd like), think of this: Today you'll more than likely throw away more food at your Bar-B-Q than many people in the world will eat in a month.
So I say it again for the cheap seats... Be humbled to be an American, and be humble as one.
I get the distinct feeling that if more Americans thought this way, the world would -- quite literally -- be a better place.
Incidentally, this is a truly great country -- and I've taken the time to visit other countries to prove that point to myself.