Kudos to Jonette Christian’s Dec. 30 Maine Voices column, “Is patriotism obsolete? A borderless world will lead to nothing but chaos.” Chaos it will be if unconditional love of country gives way to the assaults of the hate-America left, or the “educated elites,” as Christian gently describes them.

The nearly universal patriotism and belief in American exceptionalism that underlay President Kennedy’s inaugural pledge 57 years ago to “pay any price, bear any burden … to assure the survival … of liberty” have given way to the progressive left credo that sees America as the problem in the world, not the solution, and that views our society as a racist, sexist, homophobic engine of repression, not, as in Lincoln’s words, “the last, best hope of Earth.”

The catalyst for this sea change in American thought – holding patriotism and patriots in contempt – was the Vietnam War, which saw 1960s baby boomers go to college in record numbers, where they fell easy prey to the anti-American orthodoxy of liberal academia.

There was precedent for this in 1930s Great Britain, when undergraduates at the Oxford Union debating society resolved to “in no circumstances fight for king and country,” and when, as late as 1940, with their nation at war and the Blitzkrieg imminent, an aide to Winston Churchill wrote of seeing in London “a group of bespectacled intellectuals” who refused to stand for the playing of “God Save the King.” In our time, we have millionaire football players.

Patriotism is the unifying glue – the “Unum” completion of “E Pluribus” – that binds the American mosaic, or, as President Trump has said, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” All of which bears on the “astonishing question” put forth by Jonette Christian’s Chilean exchange student: “Why do Americans teach their children to hate America?”

Why, indeed?

Charles Todorich

South Portland

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