Flightfreak, your ability to focus on the negative never ceases to amaze me.
Is America perfect? No. We've had our share of black eyes in a little over 200 years, but to say...
All the good things are overshadowed by bad things.
...is being a tad unfair.
If it weren't for the United States, you wouldn't have the choice of whether or not to be patriotic, since the German National Socialist Party (that's the Nazi party, for those of you with selective amnesia about history) would be cramming their version of patriotism down your throat on a daily basis. I can see your reluctance to have feelings of pride in the Belgian flag, since you can never be too sure if/when it will be taken down and replaced with whatever flag Germany is flying at the time.
Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
Seriously, though, how is pride in one's country a bad thing? I understand that when it gets to the level of fanaticism that existed in the aforementioned Nazi Germany, it becomes a serious problem. However, that is a far cry from putting your country's flag in front of your house.
I am well aware of the seedy underbelly of my nation. And, in all honesty, most of it can be blamed on political dealing. That said, the things to be proud of far outweigh the things to be ashamed of.
Poverty? Well, under the current administration, the poverty rate has decreased a percent, but it's still a problem. Strangely enough, though, people from poverty stricken, war torn nations, all over the world continue streaming to these shores, often with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Stranger still, these same people don't just eke out some miserable existence, but tend to thrive. It gives me a real sense of pride to walk into Rosa's Market around the corner from work, not understand a word that's being said, and yet, see it thriving. If the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world would concern themselves with helping people take advantage of opportunities rather than seek another handout, this country would be greater still.
An unjustified war in Iraq? Maybe, but then women aren't being raped in rooms specifically designed for said purpose and nobody's being fed, alive, into plastic shredders, so I see it as a wash.
Don't like our policy toward Cuba? Well, who helped free Cuba from Spain in the first place?
Think the Cold War was a silly exercise in futility? Hundreds of millions of those who died at the hands of communist regimes probably would have welcomed our involvement sooner.
Our two party political system is counterproductive. Our tax system is punitive. Partisan politics are tearing the country apart. Money is being wasted.
Don't tell me I'm blind to these facts because of patriotism, when it's your blind hatred for my country that causes you to only see the negative.