As any more than casual readers here have noticed, we like teasing each other here. Sports teams, states, nations - we will wind each other up. Unless someone is having a bad day, nothing gets read into it. It's just good natured ribbing between friends, with no malice intended or understood. A little fun among the more serious topics of the day. No one can stay serious 24/7, no matter how the news tries to bring you down. It's one of the more admirable aspects of being a conservative. The ability to laugh, not just at others, but at yourself.
Yet, it is a foolish thing in some ways. After all, it is a rather large planet. Why should an accident of birth place be a source of pride? Sports teams make sense. You choose to support them. Nations, on the other hand ....
If you look at the total world population, the people who choose to emigrate to another country are a statistical rounding error. Not even noticeable. The last nation to have a huge immigrant population is, surprise, the USA. The most nationality conscious nation? The USA, hands down.
It's no bad thing.
To put into context here, the year Columbus "discovered" America (yes you get the scare quotes) was the same year our family home was finished. When your family has been living in the same place longer than a nation has existed, you tend to take a slightly longer view of things. And it is bad. The last time we got seriously stirred up? Well over a thousand years ago. That is a long time to establish a national identity.
So what is it about America? What makes it different? I would posit three things.
1/ It is possibly the first truly egalitarian society. Most Americans are friendly folks. Worryingly friendly to us Old World types, but that's our problem. You go into a crowded diner, sit where you can, and people will talk to you. Might be some homeless guy coming in to warm up. Might be some CEO grabbing a bite. You can never tell, but the one thing they all have in common, the willingness to talk. My God, do they talk. Share personal details that - over here - you only reveal to your partner.
2/ The founders were educated, smart and working from scratch. Well.not completely from scratch. They had all of human history to look at and pick the best bits from. Have you ever really looked at the Constitution and the Amendments? Pulled from at least 7 different nations and mushed together under the toughest law system ever devised - English Common Law. Yet it works, like peanut butter and chocolate.
3/ Luck, as far as timing goes. 1776. Big year for you guys. You said "screw this" and declared independence. Good for you. Here in the UK it was barely a blip on the radar - we were having another one of our interminable wars with France. Honestly, we have fought so often that we both get comped drinks. Do you really think that some rag tag band of militia could deal with the British Empire if we were paying full attention? Why fuss about a colony that doesn't even pay taxes, when our old foe is rattling it's muskets?
OK, that stung. The Boston Tea party was all about tax! Well, duh. We'd just paid for the French Indian war. The most fervent of the founders? A tea smuggler. Name is Hancock, you may recognize it. The second most fervent? A certain Mr Franklin, who rarely if ever bothered to pass on diplomatic notes. You guys got lucky.
So - why admire the USA? A country built by chance and luck?
It's something new. Something different. A glorious experiment worth fighting for and preserving.
Just don't ask me to diss my own home in praise of yours. My home was there when your country didn't exist.