Recently there was a topic regarding the "Pledge Of Allegiance", or the lack of it in schools. The exchanges shifted to whether it should/must be recited in schools. The opinion of some posters seemed to reflect that requiring it, or not, hinges on the definition of "patriotism" (noun: Love of and devotion to one's country. [The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.]).
Like so many, far too many, words, the fundamental (basic) meaning has been clouded (corrupted) by proprietorial usage by one group or another for divisive, denigrating purposes. All meanings become "black and white" with no room for gray; all is linear, no curves. I share information to educate, you spread propaganda to indoctrinate; I follow principles, you cling to dogma; I misspoke, you lied; I was mistaken, you were wrong; I was ignorant, you are stupid. I misunderstood you, you won't listen to reason.
Worst of all is I love "X", so I can disapprove of some of it; you don't like part of "X", so you hate it in toto.
Perhaps these questions should be pondered before attaching the "patriot" label, or some cutesy tag:
1.Is criticizing the government unpatriotic?
2.Is an anti-colonial rebel a patriot?
3.Is it patriotism to take up arms in rebellion against those in power?
4.Is it patriotism to follow, believe whatever those in power say, simply because they say you should?
5.Is someone who subscribes to the mythology about their country the patriot, or are they the one who seeks the truth?
6.Is not re-electing an incumbent president unpatriotic?
7.Is the choice of candidate a multi-party democratic process unpatriotic?
8.Are you unpatriotic if you do not exercise all your constitutional rights?
9.Is it patriotic to review our mistakes, examine our flaws?