To the holiday at hand: the Fourth of July. It is a time when we sit outside, cook over open fire and celebrate sending the British home without their supper 233 years ago. The British, ironically, do not have a similar holiday for burning down the White House in 1814 during the War of 1812. Maybe this is why they are not a Superpower. Superpowers, after all, remain excellent at celebrating their success. Look at Russia: no celebrating, instant failure of political system, rejection of Superpower status. Not pretty.
We are and are not everything everyone says about us. We are not a broker of freedom. We aren't Satan. We're just a tiny rebellious colony dramatically morphed into the biggest economy and military in world history; all in less than 25 decades. It's an infomercial success story (actual results may differ). So, as the discussion of what it means to be an American continues, remember this: Don't believe the hype. We're just a little band who went to radio and were rewarded with massive popular support and massive popular backlash. We're doing our best and we'll try to remember where we came from.
Listen :: Sufjan Stevens - "Star Spangled Banner"