[Obama read a speech on patriotism that others, pointed to on Just One Minute, commented on. Here was my comment.]
America is a great country because of what Americans have done. They changed the world for the better when our founders took into account the failings of all previous government, considered the lessons of history and philosophy, understood the natural self-interest of mankind, and manufactured a durable, flexible, constitution that enabled people, through a free market economy, to improve their own quality of life.
Our government modeled how it could make itself better peaceably through a Bill of Rights. It survived internal dissention to extend liberty to the least among us. It extended the vote to all adults. It spent its own cherished children and wealth to extend liberty to others, asking in return, not empire, but a small place to bury our fallen.
America is a great country because it is a nation that knows it is not perfect. Accordingly, it lets even the least among us suggest a better way, gives them the freedom to try to convince others of it, and codifies our humility forever in regular democratic elections. America does not impose itself on the world, but willingly, gracefully, shares the secrets of our success so that the fruits of liberty shall be available for all.
Our patriotism springs simply from understanding that we have been blessed, and owe our children good stewardship of the liberty earned through the intelligence, community, and sacrifice of those who have gone before.