The history of the United States of America contains some shameful chapters as well as moments that merit legitimate pride. It's far better to view the country as a work in progress instead of something unimpeachable. I've often featured E.J. Dionne's framing of these dynamics from 2006 in "A Dissident's Holiday." An excerpt:
...The true genius of America has always been its capacity for self-correction. I'd assert that this is a better argument for patriotism than any effort to pretend that the Almighty has marked us as the world's first flawless nation.
One need only point to the uses that Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. made of the core ideas of the Declaration of Independence against slavery and racial injustice to show how the intellectual and moral traditions of the United States operate in favor of continuous reform.
There is, moreover, a distinguished national tradition in which dissident voices identify with the revolutionary aspirations of the republic's founders.
As usual, here's a mix of videos. First up, here's the Declaration of Independence, read by an interesting and somewhat odd collection of actors:
This piece incorporates some great quotations, many pushing for social progress:
I've featured the Muppets before, but here's their new piece:
Finally, it's hard to top Pete Seeger singing his pal Woody Guthrie's most famous song:
Have a good Fourth! Feel free to link any appropriate pieces in the comments (and I may update the post as well).
Digby has a piece up at Salon about The violent history of "real Americans."