> As an American, you can never, ever be right to praise America, EVER.
I think most *reasonable* people can tell you when something works in America, versus something that doesn't in another country.
I think you're right, to an extent, that anti-Americanism is prevalent all over the place. I felt it in Hungary when I was there last, and I feel it here in Canada where I am attending university. But despite all of that, I find the points that people make against America are ill-informed, or hyperbolized. I find myself correcting many misconceptions. I also realized that most people outside of the U.S. tend to paint Americans with the brush they're given: our leaders, and our tourists. Our leaders are obnoxious, so people think that every living, breathing American is an amalgamation of their deeds or actions, when in reality, the bulk of the populace is nothing like the people that lead our country.
That being said, I think I have a rather interesting viewpoint from other Americans. There was a lot of multi-cultural focus growing up (my parents are very traditional, conservative Hungarians coming from the post-WWII, Soviet-bloc-era Hungary), and I think that's given me a rather different perspective. I don't think praising America is seen as something bad, even within America. Painting liberals or leftists as being against praising America is disingenuous. Praising America, where praise is called for, is not wrong. I think where people start having an issue with it, is when they see Americans as not realizing that something outside of America *cannot possibly* be better than the American way.
National healthcare is one which I've seen in-action, on a first-person basis living here in Canada as a student. I can tell you with absolute certainty, that it is better than anything I have ever experienced in the US. My family has a very expensive health insurance policy, and neither its quality, nor its execution, compared to what is offered here. This is obviously my own personal experience, and may not reflect the actual facts situation at-large, but from what I've heard, it's fairly accurate. But there are flaws with this system (flaws which I am willing to look past, given its long-term effectiveness), and having experienced both this system and the American health insurance system, I can point-by-point tell you what I believe America is doing wrong, and what I believe Canada is doing wrong. The Canadians who have never lived in the U.S. can't say that, neither can the Americans who have never lived in Canada. That's why I felt the whole 'debate' was a farce. The Republicans spent too much time talking about socialism (as if there's anything wrong with it), and the Democrats spent too much time talking about capitalism (as if there's anything wrong with it) -- both sides trying to protect their interests, but neither side willing to actually look at facts and decide what's the best option.
Anyway, I got sidetracked. It's late, and I have a penchant for rambling when I'm tired. I think the ultimate point I was trying to make is: you made a jab at the 'leftist' NYT and the 'leftist' universities in the US. The truth is, that it's those 'leftist' institutions which taught me to respect every culture -- including my own. You say the editorial board of the NYT would take umbrage to my statement saying it wouldn't fly in the US? Sure, they'd point out every point of corruption and use it as a counter-argument. To which my response would be: of course, no system is perfect. Our system works better than Hungary's -- at the moment -- but only because our economical and social situation allows it to. And who are they not to criticize? If we stopped criticizing, we'd never get better as a people. Sure, we're not as *bad* as Hungary, but we can be better than we are. I went to the same schools everyone else did; I sang the same patriotic songs in the classroom. I think at one point, a segment of us diverged. The group that thinks America can do no wrong went one way, and the group that thinks that America can become better went another, and those two groups continue to fight in Washington, and it's affecting all of us.