Extremely Proud of America

Gallup announced that fewer Americans told pollsters they are 'extremely proud' to be an American this year than ever before. All the same, a majority of 54% of us aren't merely proud to be American, or just okay with being an American, but are, in fact, extremely proud to be an American. There's not exactly a catastrophic shortage of intensifying adverbs in our patriotism or anything. Gallup's numbers say that white southern Republicans over 65 are the most likely to be 'extremely' proud to be an American. I'm white, but I'm not southern or over 65. I most definitely am not a Republican. Yet I'm still extremely proud of America. I'm not sure that being extremely proud of America gives me any room to be extremely proud of myself for being an American, but that's just the kind of pointy-headed thinking that frustrates older white southern Republicans, so I guess Ill call it close enough. I'm extremely proud to be American. I suspect that what makes me so proud of America doesn't sit very well with the older and whiter Republicans in the south, but that's okay.

I'm extremely proud that America now lets same-sex couples marry. I'm proud that the pleas of a narrow minded minority wanting to compel the government to discriminate against loving couples fell on deaf ears before our highest court.

I'm extremely proud that America now tries to ensure that all of us can access healthcare. I'm proud that our imperfect, cobbled together health insurance system has been nudged toward serving more Americans in need of medical care.

I'm extremely proud of my own little corner of America, an adopted home for me that manages to be a cosmopolitan international community in the middle of Kansas. I'm extremely proud of the rest of Kansas around my own community, where despite having a lunatic governor everyone is as cheerful as a sunflower and friendly to folks from out of town.

I'm extremely proud of America for being a country that supports girls and women in sports--so much so that our female athletes routinely play for world championships. You bettered believe I'll be watching the World Cup Final on Sunday. I know we have work to do for gender equality, but I'm proud of the progress we've made.

I'm extremely proud of the diversity of America. My pride goes beyond our athletic teams, but those teams put our diversity on glorious display. When our athletes walk in at the Olympics, their faces and names hail from all over the globe because their families came from all over the globe to join in our national experiment. Wherever they or their parents or grandparents or great grandparents moved here from, they are Americans, each and every one.

I'm extremely proud that when one horrible young man with a gun struck at the diversity of America in a black church in Charleston we united as a people to denounce not just the evil act and misguided actor, but also the treasonous banner of secession and oppression he acted under. I'm extremely proud of the movement to take that shameful banner down from our places of self-governance. I'll be even prouder when we stop flying the Confederate flag over public places altogether.

I'm proud of our Union, with all its imperfections. I am extremely proud when in the face of our imperfections we seek to make our Union more perfect. I know that we have a rump movement resisting the bonds of a more perfect Union in America, people who would prefer that the Union look like them and them alone. Oddly enough, the very people predisposed to insist that they are extremely proud to be American are revealed by other polls to be exactly the people who are least proud of the America we now live in. I'm proud that even these resistors to progress and inclusion have a place in America so long as they respect the rights of others.

I'm extremely proud of America. I'm proud of what America is struggling to become. I'm proud to be a part of that struggle in my own small ways. I'm extremely proud to be an American.

Happy 4th of July, everybody.