Old Marine, your comment reminds me of a line that came right out of the movie, 'A Few Good Men'.
Remember the Marine Officer who was testifying in court with regard to who killed substandard marine, "Santiago'? The Marine Officer, who only relied on the Navy to transport the Marines to their many destinations, listed his order of priorities in life on the stand for JAG officer Tom Cruz as follows; I believe it went like this: Unit, Corp, God, Country... Perhaps it is a Marine thing, but clearly his first priority was neither the ethereal nor his fellow man. My list of priorities is as follows: What humans refer to as God, all of humanity including my family, self and country... My priorities go along with the scriptures, to love the Lord thy God...and thy neighbor as thyself, neighbor and self being tied together..
I am not criticizing you; however, I believe that the United States is 'the American Idol', for far too many Americans, and therefore the same Americans are willing to turn a blinded-eye and ignore America's misdeeds. And the 'comparison to other countries theorem', does not hold any water for me. Yes, in some instances the country does some things better than other countries but so what, should that be the litmus test, and should that excuse America from doing what it should be doing as opposed to 'caveat by comparison' with other countries? Should that justify, for example, invasion, murder and occupation, just because American on the other hand makes donations to UNICEF? Many Americans actually worship the Beast and they will have no other God or thing before her, the United States. I am concerned that all of the groups that we find ourselves in from the smallest dyad or triad or to larger groups like extended family, club, town, city, county and country, which are mostly put in place to assist in human and group development, can in many instances act as dividers, and separate us from other human beings on the planet, and from innate feelings for social attachment that most of us were born with. All of us are aware of certain self-perpetuating groups in our country that are closed to others, and on occasion those groups serve no other purpose than to divide the group from others and to change their inward feelings about their fellow human beings (It would appear that Mr. Bush is leading the charge right now, teaching Americans to hate those Islamic-fascists).
American began as a closed group and in many ways it still is a closed group, albeit many sub-groups have obtained citizenship. America's membership, as you know, originally consisted of land-owning white males who (the same as a certain political groups today) did not want to pay taxes....albeit the original group did not want to pay taxes to The Crown.
Not to revisit all of American history, however, American history is replete with land-confiscations, murder, rape, child-molestation, slavery, egregious racism, truce-breaking, greed, racist and debauched slave-owning pimp officials and leaders, deferential treatment to one class and one class only in the country, corrupt and biased laws, 3-branches of Government with officials who never upheld their oaths to defend the constitution or were proactive in defending the rights of all Americans citizens. As a result America ended up with a sub-class of minorities including women, and similar to Lebanon, a secondary government that included Black Leadership (that most Americans criticize, while never criticizing many of the racist, child-molesting, adulterous, criminal slave-holding pimps, that held office in America for about 200 years), that had to perform the job that local, state and the federal government failed to do. What was missing old Marine in a nation that always evoked the name, if you will of God (not a name), yet at the same its laws codified hatred of its fellow-man in spite the double-speak in the Constitution, Amendments to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? And what have many blind Americans, not saying you, done ever since? Too many have followed right along in order to be good citizens, and were either perpetrators themselves of mass exclusion and deferential treatment, or indifferent to doing anything to make the necessary changes as it were, that any human being that had love in his heart would have insisted upon being done and would insist upon being done in the world today, in my view! And some went and fought and sadly died to defend American duplicity and double-speak
I believe that if all humans across the planet would put their brothers and sisters around the globe before any civil organization, that the world would be a better place, for most governments, and America is not an exception, teaches its citizens who to love and who to hate; governments teach separation and division and unfortunately that teaching has become internalized in too many Americans. But if I am unlike Cain in the O.T. scriptures, I am my brother's keeper, therefore I care about the Bedouin, the Afrikaner, the pigmy, the teuton, the mongrel, the black, the white, the male, the female et al. Groups ought to help each individual to grow, however, at the same time our man-made divisions should not divide or keep us from the higher priority, 'the brotherhood of all of us'. . If we followed my list of priorities, there wouldn't be, on the planet, any poverty, villages ravished with disease, class stratification, indifference to the needs of one-another, and I could go on, but I'm preaching now!
I believe that love of people should come before love of country, for if you look across the American political landscape and consider America's history and its tragic past, one would be wise to keep their eyes wide open, for some portions of American's past remains firmly entrenched and is with us today