I think it's quite natural to be sensitive to criticism. I don't like my country or people criticized or mocked by outsiders, either. I'm sure that can be said about just about anyone.
one of my pet peeves is nationalism, i like living in canada, and i appreciate what i have, but i'm not very flag wavy or patriotic, the only time i get really bent out of shape about it is the quebec issue, and that's because they're so adamant about who they are and what they should have, i like to think we're human beings first, nationals second
I somewhat agree with you, dj, but I have read much criticism here of the USA/ the American system/ its people, and feel that the reason they're most often attacked is because they're such a big target (of course, arrogance often rears its head which just exacerbates and reinforces it) -- makes me wonder how I'd like it. And I wouldn't. So I usually give the American topics a wide berth.
Outsiders often don't understand the processes we went through to get where we are/were on Issue A, B, or C. So they're judging from the outside looking in. It's a case of judgement, not understanding the whys and wherefores. I therefore consider their opinion practically invalid. Sort of like saying the guy at the end of the street is nuts when you don't know he has a brain tumour.
I'm not a flag-waving, rah rah rah Cdn, either, but I am most decidedly a Canadian. Liken it to homes in a neighbourhood - we love and defend our home/family first, then work outwards.
I don't mind if we are criticized fairly, but I do mind it when we aren't. And as I said earlier, we're often misunderstood. And that goes for everyone.
From what I've read/experienced, some people (here and elsewhere) have decided many Americans are single-toothed, gun-toting hillbillies/trailer park trash who don't know much about their own state never mind a 'foreign' country. That is not only offensive but would get pretty wearing pretty quickly. It is just not that black and white.