Today, the word “patriot” can scarcely be distinguished from the word “nationalist;” a patriot is above all one who is loyal to his government, his country, and his fellow citizens... For most Enlightenment thinkers, to be a patriot was to favor the people of the country rather than the country’s rulers.
Given the simple definition of 'patriotism' as "love of country", I think the real problem lies not with the popular interpretation of 'country', but of 'love'. Too many Americans think that loving their country means coddling it, ignoring its faults, and proclaiming its virtue without regard for reality. Unsurprisingly, this produces a spoilt brat. But surely genuine love would not be so predictably destructive. Real patriots appreciate the great potential inherent in their country, and hope to nurture this and make it a reality. They stand by their country in hard times, not in the pretense that it is faultless, but in the faith that it can redeem itself.
(As Blar noted, the full version of the famous phrase is: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; if wrong, to be set right.")