On the trail of a whirlwind Eastern Europe trip, I’ve seen 9 countries in 9 days, but countless more cultures, religions, foods, languages, and temperaments. And through all this, I’ve found one single commonality, one bond that each nation holds true: this pervasive perception that Americans are ignorant and that Americans are arrogant – usually followed by the citation of some ridiculous YouTube video.

Ignorant? You say that as your president sends his children to our schools. As your wealthy send  their ill to our doctors. As you type, call, drive, and play on the products of our innovation. Put your iPhone down when you call my country stupid.

Arrogant? Yes, we think our country is the greatest in the world – but who DOESN’T think their country is the greatest, you hypocrites?

Find me the Frenchman who says “well, France is just middle of the pack, overall”. Or the Englishman who won’t drone on about the glory of the empire. Or the Russian, Aussie, Swede, or Saudi, or any of the proud Balkan nationals who don’t brim with “arrogance” during their national anthems. Since when did the rest of the world get so humble?

We think our country is the best simply because IT IS the best. It’s a beacon of democracy and prosperity, a model of freedom, and a force for good inside our borders and out.

And I wore that Star Spangled Banner on my sleeve through some of the deepest pits of anti-Americanism. Why? Because I couldn’t be more thankful and more damn proud to be able to call the land of the free my home sweet home and we shouldn’t EVER be intimidated into thinking otherwise. So don’t be shy and give em’ “arrogant”, because contrary to cross-Atlantic opinion, our patriotism ain’t a sin. Shout it from coast to coast and from country to country: G-d bless America.

Happy Fourth of July, Americans, you magnificent bastards.