People fundamentally misunderstand, and hence under appreciate, America. I have 3 main problems with contemporary political discussion. Although I reserve the right to add additional levels of bitterness or annoyance as needed.
1) "America" vs "America"
This one is subversive but subtle. It worms its way into the thought and vocabulary of even many independant and intellectual Americans.
When you say "America", such as "America is great", what do you mean by it?
Do you mean our land itself, the earth and soil and Natural resources?
Do you mean our culture, our tolerance, our collective zeigeist, sense of humor, ethics?
Do you mean our low car insurance rates?
Do you mean our economic or military power?
All too often, people think of america from a pragmatic. pratical angle, proud of our GDP and growth and economic and material successes.
-- Doesnt that imply that you would no longer consider America great if other countries one day made more money, or had cheaper car insurance?
Worst of all, however, people use "America" to mean our government, our congress, even our President. And the people themselves, not just the structure!
-- Doesnt that imply that you'd love America itself less if/when morons get elected?
America is independant and external from those elements!!
America is a concept. It is a powerful, bold, terrifying, and open-ended experiment with no safety net. Do not love America because of a paycheck, or economic power, or prestige, or world leadership, or low car insurance rates.
Love America for reasons that you would still be loving her, even if other countries surpass us in GDP or flying cars or whatever. Value freedom above all else.
We did not form this country because we wanted to be successful. We formed it because we NEEDED to be free, at any risk. So dearly, that we revolted.
2) Will of the People
The phrase 'will of the people' has been tossed around a great deal lately, and all with a positive spin... as if a successful and free democracy automatically should enact the will of the majority.
"Will of the people" should send chills up ones spine just as readily as "Final Solution."
While we are a democracy, our country is the ONLY ONE founded with the clear mandate to do just the oppsite of every single country that had ever existed since the dawn of time - to PROTECT the minority from the 'Will of the People'.
And not only protect us from the will of the people, but from our government itself.
Every bad idea in history has been 'the will of the people'. We choose to live in a land where no matter how popular, no matter how universally seen as truth, no opinion or policy can ever be forced onto the unwilling.
3) Genius of The Founding Fathers
But more than anything else, more than choosing not to take up the mantle of lordship and power, more than protecting the weak from the populist masses pressuring them, our founding fathers realized one essential truth -
Government, any government - even our own benevolent and well-intentioned new creation - is inherently Evil.
Instead of trying to form the perfect benevolent government, they created the smallest, least powerful, least intrusive one they could imagine.
Men and Women writing a new government and choosing not to give themselves power because they knew that no matter how smart, how erll intentioned, even they could not be trusted - other than the Gospels of Christ, I can think of few other inspired moments in human history.
God Bless America