I have two wonderful things for you to read on the subject of patriotism. The first is from Zabrina, at Thought You’d Never Ask, in which she dispenses some words of wisdom to a child about to head off to college. The second is from Jonah Goldberg, who explains why conservative Americans often don’t recognize as patriotism the feelings Barack Obama and those closest to him have for America.
I also want to add in connection with all this the fact that, when you criticize something brutally and relentlessly, it becomes ever harder to believe that you love it — and loving your country is, of course, the essence of patriotism. As Dennis Prager once said, everybody would understand this principle if they were in the presence of a husband who heaps nonstop physical and verbal abuse on his wife, all the while claiming he loves her. At a certain point, those protestations of love appear increasingly hollow and false.