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“Today’s the 4th of July, another June has gone by, and when they light up our town, I just think what a waste of gunpowder and sky…” -Aimee Mann, “4th of July”

Happy Independence Day, America. I posted an article on Facebook about how fewer Americans than ever claim that America is the “best country in the world”. Naturally this created a minor shitstorm. Any constructive criticism of the country and the claws come out, as if one critical word is going to unravel the country from its core. I don’t know what is so offensive about being critical. The country has plenty of great aspects, but it’s on the decline and needs a lot of help. To call it the “greatest” is certainly subjective but also shows a lack of knowledge about life anywhere else. Sure, there are a lot of places in the world that have it nowhere near as “good” as the US, but plenty of places that have it better (again, subjectively). It depends on what things you value. Blind patriotism is ugly and uninformed. Questioning and criticizing has nothing to do with lack of loyalty or patriotism.

But I’m no patriot. In response to every defensive citizen (of any country) whose first reactionary response is, “If you don’t like it, leave…”, I can say, “I did.”