Michelle Obama got a lot of flak in 2008 for saying, ""For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback." It was, at best, poorly phrased; at worst, stupid. The immediate Conservative reaction, expressed within seconds by Cindy McCain, was, "I have and always will be proud of my country."
Let's not get carried away with that "always" business.
The United States and its citizens are not immune from doing things that should inspire any emotion but pride. The end game of the recent health insurance reform legislation offers many examples where nothing but shame should be applied.
How about the protesters taunting the Parkinson's victim as a freeloader? The racial, gay, and female epithets hurled at House members as they came and went? Even worse, the actions of some--some--Republican representatives to rile the crowd up more than they already were, instead of acting like the mature, cooler heads leaders are supposed to me.
As an American, I'm proud to see this nation accept some responsibilities toward its citizens the rest of the "advanced" world took on decades ago. (And without falling into totalitarianism or communism or having death panels, unless Great Britain, Germany, Canada, and many other industrial nations are hiding it awfully damn well.) I am also ashamed to live in a country where people not only condone, but take pride in the actions described in the previous paragraph.
Considering how often we like to call ourselves a Christian nation, we sure have a lot to learn about treating our fellow man.