There are certain aspects of the "American" evolution that are very valuable and very important. I've touched on them - our unmitigated passion, the extent of our freedom of speech, and on a social level our friendliness and helpfulness. I've yet to find anywhere else on earth where any of those things are challenged from taking America off its thrown. There's an argument to be made this is another reason I chose to come back, though it was a more subliminal one.
I believe in those things as a tool of how to make our society better. And I believe they can be very successful. A more accurate description of those things, to me, would be appreciation, responsibility, and a certain degree of intellectual awe and curiosity. But pride? No. I didn't make it that way, and if we're using the association definition (which I find flawed) I am not necessarily proud of the way we're using it. I am proud, however, of my own part in bringing that out in others, which has manifested itself in a couple of fairly significant ways, for a small fish like me.
I'd consider myself a patriot. I'm very dedicated to examining and continuing those qualities, and I take the well-being of my fellow countrymen pretty seriously. Pride is not necessary to do any of those things. Nor does it necessarily mean I have to think this is the best place on earth. I don't. And the reason that is so disappointing is because we very easily could be, with the above mentioned qualities that Americans share. My belief in those qualities is what makes me a patriot. But my patriotism is conditional. I'll keep going with that for as long as it exists in a form that I think can be worked with. If that ends, then I'm gone. I am not inherently commited to the piece of dirt. I'm commited to a characteristic of humanity that seems to be stronger in America than elsewhere.