Websters defines patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." The United States is defined as both a geographic area and a population of people with a common political system- a "federal republic". So, to be a patriotic American is to love the land, water and air that unites us and the people and system of government that make us who we are. Which of these things are people who are fond of calling themselves "patriots" famous for loving? Our federal government? Laws that we enact to keep our land, water and air safe? I would never say that to be a patriot one must love every American. But I would argue that one must, at the very least, begin with a certain amount of respect. No one loves everyone in his/her extended family, but most of us respect them until they give us reason not to. Could "patriots" say that?
Thinking people are above debating whether the Muslim community center should be built several blocks away from Ground Zero. I can't imagine a better opportunity to prove one's patriotism, especially if it offends your sensibilities ( Here I must say that likening the community center to a Hitler statue by a concentration camp, or a Japanese shrine at Pearl Harbor is preposterous- Hitler and the Japanese were the actual perpetrators of the bad deeds. The people who want to build the community center are not. We would not allow Al-Qaeda to build a community center. That is the appropriate analogy). The people who want to build the community center have not harmed America- they ARE America. And what you do unto them, you do unto our country.