Pink, awesome to see you here!
(And excellent post, btw.)
I guess I see patriotism as more a matter of communing with my neighbors. I've been to enough other countries that I can see how nearly everyhwere, people (with the possible exception of some Germans) derive a certain satisfaction from acknowledging their kinship with their countrymen. So in the broad scheme of things, patriotism isn't necessarily about which country is better. It's about which country happens to be "mine" at this particular moment, and in my experience, that country is the country in which I happen to find myself. So if I'm at Naadam in Mongolia, for example, the superficial object of patriotism is Mongolia, but the underlying substance of patriotism is the same as it might be in any other place. It can be a warm, open, accepting phenomenon. At Naadam, they don't spit on foreigner; they invite them to come and enjoy. At the Fourth of July in the United States, everyone is welcome, and foreigners certainly are, too. There's no shame, no hatred in this type of patriotism. It's a celebration of our common humanity.
Yes, it's still a form of self view. Yes, we're still clowns. Then the next day comes, and we're still faced with all the same issues that we had the day before. Life goes on, but I think it's okay sometimes to recognize beauty when it is present.
Happy Fifth of July.