In the grocery store line this morning I checked in with my RSS feed and saw this in Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish:
If we feel pride, it should be in the accomplishments of our fellow citizens and in any contributions we ourselves have made toward making our country and community a better place, however small and local. Pride of simply being born American leads to hubris, which leads to bigotry and belligerence. For pride to be authentic, it must be something we feel we have earned.I saw accomplishments to be proud of this morning--the Oak Park parade this morning was made up of civic groups, with modest signs and colorful t-shirts. There was a gay pride marching band (who says the fun has to end when you leave school?), the Oak Park Art League, therapy dogs, baseball teams for kids, the high school football team--tall and gangly, the West Suburban Special Recreation Association bus, the Friends of the Library, the Democratic Party of Oak Park, dancers, even acrobats--pleasant, marching, waving, happy to be part of something celebrating life in America.
Tonight's fireworks were at the high school. A peaceful assembly of good citizens filled the grandstand on one side and the tennis courts and streets on the other. Kids with glow sticks, folding chairs, the noise of conversation. Sparks blew our way and a few came all the way to the ground. Just the setting--the sports fields with the school looming in the background are signs of community pride and investment in the future.
It all sounds so upstanding. And it is.