Herein lies the great chasm that separates liberals and conservatives when it comes to defining the word "patriotism." The right sees patriotism as a physical, emotional connection with the past; an open acknowledgment and tribute to those who came before us and guaranteed with their blood, sweat, and tears that we, their progeny, would live in freedom. We are aware that America is not all it could be but rather than dwelling on our imperfections, we celebrate all that is good and decent in this land and its people.
The flip side of the same coin is how liberals define patriotism. They seem to intellectualize their love of country. They distrust outward displays of patriotic emotion, tending to equate fervor with patriotism's evil twin -- nationalism. Liberals see a problematic past for America and are not shy about pointing out where America has fallen short in its promises of liberty and equality.
Okay, I could agree with both of these sentiments. But I have somewhat of a problem with the constant criticism by the Left. If you are conservative, you see a line of progress, fitful and uncertain at times, but always progress. But for the Left, it seems that since we will never be able to achieve perfection, they can never be as proud of America as a conservative would be.
If the improvement of America is a Sysiphian task, why bother? I suppose a simpler question is - Is the glass half empty or half full? Actually, it seems for the Left that the first part of the question should be is the glass full? If it's not, it is not worth having.
I am not necessarily sure that they are wrong, but I question why anyone should bother if the task is impossible?