As I flipped through the Jan. 14 edition of The Northern Forecaster, I was surprised to read in a letter to the editor that not all of my fellow Mainers share my enthusiasm for Maine’s possible change in the state flag (“Leave the Maine state flag alone,” Jan. 14).

Though I disagreed with many of the opinions expressed by author Frank Thiboutot, I was most disturbed by Mr. Thiboutot’s implication that ideology has any direct link with a country’s flag design. Thiboutot seemed to make the argument that Maine should abstain from simplifying its flag, given that nations like communist China, the USSR or many Islamic countries also boast simple flag designs.

I find Mr. Thiboutot’s surviving fear of communism and Islam to be quite troubling in that it represents an American mindset that hinders progress and tolerance. A lingering sense of McCarthyism in U.S. politics results in the incessant vilification of left-wing politicians, and rampant Islamophobia continues to foster American bigotry.

I see no reason at all to link the ideologies of bygone communist nations with the reinstatement of a flag that existed before countries like the USSR or communist China were even founded. The adoption of a simple and unique flag will bring unity and pride to a state living through one of the worst economic and political disasters in our nation’s history and will help differentiate Maine and its unique culture from dozens of other states.

Mr. Thiboutot wholeheartedly ignored the possible advantages that would come from a change in the state flag and instead decided to focus on outdated assumptions that display nothing but America’s ignorance. I implore readers to support the readoption of the 1901-1909 state flag and turn away from 20th-century prejudices, especially as the United States emerges from this deadly pandemic and enters a new political era.

William Nicholson
North Yarmouth