Deering High School student Allan Monga’s being allowed to participate in a national poetry recital contest previously reserved for American citizens was presented as something to be celebrated, and I guess from the perspective of Mr. Monga (an asylum-seeker from Zambia), it was a sort of victory. It seemed to me, however, as a kind of petty theft that happens so often nowadays when the benefits of American citizenship are given away to whoever asks.

The meaning and value of citizenship are reduced for ourselves and our posterity when we carelessly give citizens of other countries the rights and privileges that should belong exclusively to Americans: residence, social welfare and legal employment, for example. So, what Mr. Monga has achieved is to take something that belonged to Americans and obtain it for himself and any other persons who should want it. It was a small thing, to be sure, but it points to larger things.

I note that Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Councilor Pious Ali are working hard to take the right to vote from Maine citizens and give it to anyone who cares to have it. I don’t know about Mr. Ali, but it surely appears to me that Mayor Strimling much prefers foreigners to Americans.

He shares this trait with a great many people in our cultural and business elites. It’s a kind of xenophilia combined with a distaste for one’s own people. Its practical effect is to take things from Americans and give them to foreigners, whether it be money, jobs or, in this case, a poetry recital contest.

Charles Day


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