A much touted word of late.
With several definitions it seems.
There is Bush Regime/Republican pretend patriotism, which is accompanied by accessories that must be worn at all times, these accessories include a flag lapel pin, blinders, and a gag. The gag is optional if one has the ability to scream over, and drown out, those that disagree with the right wing conservative and/or evangelical viewpoint.
The following statement by Hermann Goering, may well be a definitive statement for these real patriots. "Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
I asked myself, what patriotism, being a good citizen means to me...I found myself in rather good company, if I do say so myself.
"My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." Carl Schurz
"What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility ... a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." Adlai E. Stevenson
"There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.
The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity." Rabbi Sherwin Wine
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it." Edward R. Murrow
"To me, patriotism is upholding the ideals and principles on which the nation was founded..." Capt. Nate Rawlings